| 28 March 2023, Tuesday |

Borrell: Dispute between Algeria, Spain harms association agreement

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has urged that pressure be exerted on Russia to extend the grain deal in the Mediterranean, which expires on March 18.


The impact of the war in Ukraine “goes beyond the European borders,” Borrell told Algeria’s El Khabar Algerian newspaper on the eve of his visit to the North African country.


“The EU countries are seeking to limit the impact the war is having on food security,” he added.


“The Solidarity Lanes which we have established in May 2022 allowed the export of 25 million tons of grain and Ukrainian agricultural products,” he stated.


Commenting on the political crisis between Algeria and Spain because of Madrid’s support of the Western Sahara Autonomy Proposal, Borrel said he is visiting Algeria in his capacity as European Union foreign policy chief.


The EU’s stance on the issue reflects that of the 27 member countries and remains unchanged in supporting the UN process aimed at reaching a fair and realistic political solution that is accepted by both parties in line with UN Security Council resolutions.


He said EU countries view as “unfortunate” the “serious obstacles” that Algeria has been imposing since June 2022 on trade with Spain. The obstacles exempt gas exports.


“This situation is quite detrimental to the association agreement and serves no one’s interest,” he remarked.


Spain called on the European Commission to pressure Algeria to go back on its decision to halt trade under because it violates the association agreement signed between Algeria and the EU in 2005.


For its part, Algeria has been demanding for years the revision of the agreement because “It didn’t offer an added value to its economy.”


The EU is ready to discuss the Algerian demands, Borrel stressed.


Borrell will meet Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Prime Minister Aamene Benabderrahmane during his visit, said a statement by the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


President of the European Council Charles Michel had visited the country in September 2022.


The Ministry said the visit by European officials reflects Algeria and the EU’s desire to boost their cooperation in all areas.


This visit will be an opportunity “to continue the political dialogue between the two parties and to evaluate the cooperation and prospects for deepening it within the framework of a balanced and adapted implementation of the Algeria-EU Association Agreement.”


Discussions would also cover international and regional issues mainly the situation in the Sahel, Libya, Sahara, and the Palestinian Territories.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat