EU's Josep Borrell says sorry after 'jungle' comments sparked backlash | The National |
Many dismiss `non-apology', rejecting foreign policy chief's claims that remarks were misinterpreted
In his blog, Mr Borrell rejected accusations of racism. "All my life I have been totally opposed to any form of contempt, or racism towards anyone," he wrote.
He also said that the metaphor used was "not [his] invention".
"Some truly dislike it because, among others, it has been used by US neo-conservatives, but I am far from this school of political thought," he wrote.
Mr Borrell argued that the concept had been present in public debates for decades and referred to a "simple question", asking: "Should the international order be based on principles accepted by all, regardless of the strength of its actors, or should it be based on the will of the strongest, which is commonly called 'the law of the jungle?'"
Europe is a "garden" because "the European integration project came from a rejection of power politics", he said.
The "jungle" refers to "force, intimidation and blackmail" and in particular, to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Mr Borrell said.
"Unfortunately, the 'jungle' is everywhere, including in Ukraine. We must take this trend seriously and that was my message to the students. Certainly, we should not retreat behind the false security of walls and isolationism," he said.
Europeans must remain "humble" in their relations with the rest of the world and the global south, argued Mr Borrell.
"I also have enough experience to know that neither Europe nor 'the West' is perfect and that some countries of 'the West' have at times violated international legality," he wrote.
Mr Borrell's apology came a day after he doubled down on his initial comments when questioned during a press conference in Luxembourg on Monday. He told reporters that he was "disappointed to hear some of the interpretations that have been bandied about" and did not apologise.
Many social media users on Wednesday rejected arguments put forward in his blog post, calling it a "non-apology".
"It caused offence because we understood it correctly, @JosepBorrellF. You and your fellow unelected Brussels thugs have always behaved as colonialists but you thought your 'civilisation' hides your racism, hypocrisy and brutality," tweeted Ali Abunimah, director of online publication The Electronic Intifada.
In neocolonial rant, EU says Europe is ’garden’ superior to rest of world’s barbaric ’jungle’
Borrell delivered this overtly racist rant at the inauguration of the European Diplomatic Academy in Brussels on October 13.
According to the official transcript, published at the EU website, Borrell said the following:
Europe is a garden. We have built a garden. Everything works. It is the best combination of political freedom, economic prosperity and social cohesion that the humankind has been able to build – the three things together. And here, Bruges is maybe a good representation of beautiful things, intellectual life, well-being.
The rest of the world – and you know this very well, Federica – is not exactly a garden. Most of the rest of the world is a jungle, and the jungle could invade the garden. The gardeners should take care of it, but they will not protect the garden by building walls. A nice small garden surrounded by high walls in order to prevent the jungle from coming in is not going to be a solution. 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.
Yes, this is my most important message: we have to be much more engaged with the rest of the world.
The EU foreign-policy chief failed to mention that, for more than 500 years, European colonialist powers have run the most violent empires in human history, overseeing mass genocides, racialized chattel slavery, ethnic cleansing, and constant wars.
Instead, Borrell continued later in his remarks portraying Europe as a superior “beacon” of civilization:
Believe me, Europe is a good example for many things. The world needs Europe. My experience of travelling around the world is that people look at us as a beacon.
Why [do] so many people come to Europe? Are there flows of illegal or irregular migrants going to Russia? Not many. No, they are coming to Europe but for good reasons.
Keep the garden, be good gardeners. But your duty will not be to take care of the garden itself but [of] the jungle outside.
In the same speech, Borrell claimed Europe is superior because of its “institutions”.
Countries outside of the European Union should be worried about Borrell's nationalistic words.
Could it be that for Josep the jungle in London came to mind ...
Voting Corner Putsch, PM Truss Resigns
My earlier doubt about Josep Borrell and competency to fulfill this key task for the EU.
Josep is an Russophobe ...
Focus On Josep
Finding his diplomatic results deplorable, I figured to look at his credentials ...
EU's Top Diplomat ... Worst Choice Possible
During his visit to Kiev, Josep Borrell said for the first time in the history of the European Union that the conflict "will be won on the battlefield," but not through diplomatic efforts.
EU leaders never made any statements about the priority of the military victory over the political solution during the wars in Yugoslavia, or in Libya, or in Afghanistan, where most of the EU nations were involved as NATO members. Nor were any such statements voiced during the US-led invasion of Iraq, which the leading EU countries condemned as based on disinformation and lies about Baghdad's possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Where Blinken Truss, Borrell failed in Moscow, a last ditch effort was made by France president Macron ... he arrived in Moscow with empty hands, no mandate and failed too.