UAE demands explanation of racist comments made by Josep Borrell
The EU foreign policy chief is under fire for referring to the Global South as 'a jungle' that is trying to invade Europe
By News Desk - October 18 2022

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

Officials in Abu Dhabi on 17 October summoned the acting head of the EU delegation to the UAE, to demand an explanation over the racist comments made by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell last week.

The Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation described Borrell’s comments as racist, and said they contributed to a worsening climate of intolerance and discrimination worldwide.

“Europe is a garden. We have built a garden … The rest of the world [is] not exactly a garden. Most of the rest of the world is a jungle, and the jungle could invade the garden,” Borrell said during a speech in Belgium last week.

He went on to add that building walls to protect “the garden” would not work because “the jungle has a strong growth capacity, and the wall will never be high enough in order to protect the garden.”

“The gardeners have to go to the jungle. Europeans have to be much more engaged with the rest of the world. Otherwise, the rest of the world will invade us, by different ways and means,” Europe’s top diplomat stressed.


Besides summoning the acting head of mission at the EU delegation to the UAE, Emirati officials also asked Mr. Borrell’s office to provide a written explanation.

Many others have said Borrell’s speech reflected long-outdated views of European supremacy over the ‘uncivilized’ world. His words also ignore the long history of colonialism that allowed countries in the west to fully develop at the expense of the Global South.

“Colonial nostalgics resurface like monsters,” Qatar’s Minister of State, Hamad al-Kawari, tweeted early on Tuesday in response to Borrell.

Russia also took aim at EU foreign policy chief’s racist comments, with Foreign Minister Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova tweeting: “Europe built that ‘garden’ through the barbaric plundering of the ‘jungle.’ Borrell could not have phrased it any better: the world’s most prosperous system, created in Europe, nurtured by roots in colonies which they ruthlessly oppressed.”

During a press conference on Monday, Borrell denied that his message was racist or colonialist, according to Spanish news agency EFE. He claimed the comments were intended to reject the idea of ‘fortress Europe’ and to encourage students to engage with the world.

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