by Jan Goller 

Spain’s foreign minister Josep Borrell

The boom of far-right parties, the coming Brexit, the migratory crisis – just to mention a few of the challenges that the EU has to face recently. An overview about nowadays situation of the EU and the existence of EU-phobics gave Spain’s foreign minister, Josep Borrell, in the weekly press breakfast of Europe Press.

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There will be a coalition between the Popular Party (PP) and the liberal party (Ciudadanos) in tolerance with the right extremes from Vox in Andalusia. Will CiudadanosAlbert Rivera change the fate of Andalucia, one of the poorest regions in Spain with high unemployment despite the growing tourism industry there. Meanwhile the votes for Vox were also for less immigration and more jobs, there are already in nine EU-countries right-wing parties governing like for example in Austria. For the moment it is not at all proven that they improve anything.

The rise of populism is due to the fact that Europe as a whole  is seen as far-out and bureaucratic. It has lost lots of its seduction power to citizens. “It is necessary to be economically strong, to remain united and to prepare ourselves for the migratory waves”, mentions Borrell and adds that we won’t stop them with walls.

“European politics is naturally consensus. But agreements are always less sexy than discrepancies” – Josep Borrell

The EU is becoming older and can’t allow not receiving migrants, says the minister. He defends the idea of an open Europe who knows that is has to receive refugees and condemns the states being in favour of building walls. In this way, he differs the EU in two parts. One that knows that it has to accept a number of migrants and the other part which denies quotes made by the European Commission.

Shortly, he puts on record several problems and challenges that the European Union has to face on nowadays like the

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  • policy of US president Donald Trump and if he will be reelected in his 2nd legislature 2020
  • protest of the yellow vests (gilets jaunes) in France and their dissatisfaction with tax increases
  • shift to right like recently the rise of Spain’s right-wing party Vox in Andalusian’s elections
  • end of the Franco-German “dream political couple” Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron

But the most important challenges of the EU are the Brexit and the transatlantic divorce according to him:

“Seeing how complicated United Kingdom’s exit of the EU is, you have to wonder how many people could be led to believe that Catalonia’s independence was going to happen overnight” – Josep Borrell

A “hard Brexit” would be bad for all, supposes Spain’s foreign minister. If it happens the Spanish Government will be good prepared to face it.
He points to a new website for citizens and companies to prepare for this scenario which has been published this week.

The foreign minister also claims that we should watch the political situation in Brazil. The new minister Jair Bolsonaro is known as homophobic, misogynist and racist.

Spain: more and better jobs wanted

Although the liberal party will govern with Vox together, Rivera wants to keep equal rights for families with single parents or with same-sex parents and stresses that we are in the 21st century.

“There won’t be any step backwards, neither in the LGBT movement. All we want is progress.” – promises Rivera

Asked about collaborations with the French populist party Front National of Le Pen, he explains that this won’t happen. Instead they are working together with the political party of French president “En Marche” to create more and better jobs in Spain:  “Our relation couldn’t be actually better.”