Israel is quietly disappointed by the imminent appointment of Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell as the next European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, the Israel Hayom newspaper reports.
Borrell, a veteran of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), was nominated to replace Federica Mogherini, who was an unpopular figure in Israel herself because of her support for Iran and for the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers, as well as the pro-Palestinian line she had led.
In the wake of the elections to the European Parliament, in which the right-wing bloc was strengthened, Israel had hoped that the EU’s foreign policy would turn towards the right as well. However, the nomination of Borrell as foreign minister, as well as other appointments, signal that sympathy for Iran and the Palestinians will continue.
Borrell is a known supporter of Iran and has made several comments during his time as Spanish Foreign Minister which were construed as being sympathetic to the regime.
He is considered a hot-tempered, sharp-tongued man, according to Israel Hayom. A few months ago, social networks in Europe circulated a video in which he appeared to be abandoning a live interview because he did not like the questions he was being asked.
Borrell volunteered many years ago in a kibbutz in Israel, and even met his first wife in Israel, but is well-known for his criticism of the Jewish state.
Last year, Borrell said his country is ready to recognize a Palestinian state and added that Spain is willing to go the distance and do so on its own, even if the European Union fails to reach a unanimous decision on the matter.
The 72-year-old has in the past posted tweets viewed as positive towards Iran. In a series of tweets marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, he wrote, “The literacy rate has risen from 35 to 84 percent. Women's participation in the labor force rose from 5 to 47 percent. Iran is a key country in the Middle East. It is involved in wars in Syria and Yemen and is in competition with Saudi Arabia. 40 years after Vietnam, Iran is still an obsession for the US. Iran can survive the sanctions if Trump is not re-elected, otherwise the regime will renew its nuclear program and double its aggression in the region."
Another example can be found in a newspaper interview, in which Borrell was asked about Iran's calls for the destruction of Israel. His reply was, "Iran wants to wipe out Israel, there is nothing new here, we have to live with it."
Borrell’s appointment requires the approval of the European Parliament, and there is little chance that the parliament will vote against him, noted Israel Hayom.