The European Union's High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, urged today in Algiers to find a solution to the diplomatic crisis between Algeria and Spain, which began almost a year ago, and regretted "the serious obstacles introduced since June 2022 to trade with Spain".
"We know that we can improve (trade relations between the EU and Algeria) and we must begin by finding a solution to the current limits, and I am thinking, for example, of the obstacles since June 2022 to trade with Spain; a solution must be found," Borrell insisted in a statement to the press at the end of his meeting with the Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune.
"I am thinking of the obstacles that restrict European investments in Algeria and that have a direct impact on the implementation of our association agreement and on our common interest", Borrell added, after citing that more than half of Algeria's foreign trade is with member states, given that the Maghreb country exports a total of 56% and imports 43%.
The head of European diplomacy, who described Algeria as a "strategic partner of the EU and an essential actor", said that the partnership on energy "works well", since the North African country is "a reliable partner", and expressed his desire to develop this relationship "not only in the present but also for the future", especially in European investments in the renewable energy sector.
"The EU and Algeria have built over the years a strong partnership founded above all by historical, cultural ties that united our peoples," he said. "I am here to discuss how best to advance our relationship even further together, exploiting all the potentials of this relationship," he declared.
Audience productive avec le President @TebbouneAmadjid. Nous avons parlé des défis communs bilatéraux et régionaux— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) March 13, 2023
Au cœur de nos discussions: situation au Sahel, l’escalade préoccupante au Moyen Orient et la guerre d'agression Russe contre l'Ukraine et son impact dans le monde pic.twitter.com/YEXBIvvDHc
Borrell, who denounced Russia's "aggression" against Ukraine and expressed his support for the latter, said that "this is not just a European war (taking place on European territory)" but "a greater challenge for the whole world because it is an attack on international law".
"The EU supports Ukraine financially, politically and militarily and will continue to do so as much as possible and necessary and invited Algeria to join the EU's committed efforts to stop this unjustifiable war and to mitigate its economic and human impact on the whole world," he said.
The need for the 27 member states to disconnect from Russian gas since the start of the war has made Algeria the third largest supplier of this energy resource to the European continent.
Borrell ended a two-day visit to Algeria today with the aim of consolidating bilateral relations between the EU and Algeria, especially in the areas of energy and trade. His working visit also served to address security in the Sahel, and other common regional issues such as Libya and Western Sahara, the trigger for the crisis between Algeria and Spain since the Spanish government showed its support for Morocco's position on its former colony.