Josep Borrell, the head of foreign policy for the European Union, denied on Tuesday that remarks he made last week were racist and apologized for any offense the comments may have caused. The remarks had drawn criticism from the UAE.
The EU envoy to the UAE summoned the acting director of mission on Monday and demanded an explanation for Borrell’s racial remarks.
Borrell referred to Europe as “a garden” and the majority of the rest of the world as “a jungle” that “might invade the garden” in remarks he made at the brand-new European Diplomatic Academy in Bruges, Belgium, which have since gained a lot of attention online.
In a late-Tuesday blog post, Borrell explained that when he used the term “jungle,” he was referring to the growing number of instances in which nations have violated accepted international standards by utilizing force, coercion, and extortion.
“The growth of this lawless world and disorder is what I meant when talking about the ‘jungle’.My reference to ‘jungle’ has no racist, cultural or geographical connotation. Indeed and unfortunately, the ‘jungle’ is everywhere, including in Ukraine. We must take this trend seriously and that was my message to the students,” he said.
“I am sorry if some have felt offended,” He continued, saying that he believed Europe was frequently overly focused on itself and needed to learn more about the rest of the globe.
According to the UAE’s national news agency, the foreign ministry had called the comments “wrong and racist” and that they “add to a worsening climate of intolerance and discrimination worldwide.”