By Selen Temizer
ANKARA (AA) - Geopolitical changes intensified in 2021, with power politics repeatedly challenging the European Union and its values, the EU’s foreign policy chief said Monday.
In a blog post, Josep Borrell defined 2021 as a year of transition.
Touching on the COVID-19 pandemic, Borrell said it has carried on longer than imagined a year ago and the ongoing omicron variant necessitates major restrictions while it is threatening the recovery.
He went on to say that the bloc already surpassed its goal of delivering 250 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to other countries, adding the aim is to have donated a total of 700 million doses by mid-2022.
Apart from the coronavirus pandemic, Borrell said the crises in Belarus, Ukraine, Mali, Sudan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Venezuela and Bosnia and Herzegovina dominated the international and EU agenda in 2021.
"Being in permanent crisis management mode has sometimes weakened our capacity to address transversal, longer-term issues that should be at the center of our foreign policy, such as revitalizing multilateralism or handling migration in a balanced way, or the energy and climate crises or the rules for the digital transition," Borrell added.
Pointing to the positive developments in 2021, he said the EU “managed to present the Strategic Compass to the EU member states,” adding its “purpose is to strengthen the EU’s role as a security provider.”
Although he described the US administration’s decisions on Afghanistan and AUKUS as "unfortunate," Borrell noted that "2021 also saw the relaunch of EU-US relations under President (Joe) Biden."
He underlined that the EU puts emphasis on diversifying its partnerships across the Indo-Pacific, adding "we have also engaged more closely with Central Asia and started to improve our cooperation with the Gulf countries."