The UAE summoned the acting head of the mission at the EU delegation to the UAE on Monday, demanding an explanation for what it called racist remarks made by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell last week.
According to the UAE national news agency (WAM), the statements were “inappropriate and racist” and “add to a growing atmosphere of intolerance and prejudice worldwide.”
In his remarks at the new European Diplomatic Academy in Bruges, Belgium, which have been widely circulated online since he made them last week, Borrell called Europe “a garden” and most of the world a “jungle” that “could invade the garden.”
“The gardeners should take care of the garden, but they will not protect the garden by building walls. A nice small garden surrounded by high walls in order to prevent the jungle 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,” said Borrell, a Spanish politician.
“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,” he said.
At a press conference on Monday, Borrell denied that his message was racist or colonialist, news agency EFE reported. The comments were intended to reject the idea of ‘fortress Europe’ and to encourage students to engage with the world, he said.