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Newsline: EU’s top diplomat rejects claims his ‘jungle’ comments were racist

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday denied that comments he made last week were racist and apologised for any offence caused by the remarks. In his remarks at the new European Diplomatic Academy in Bruges, Belgium, which have been widely circulated online, Borrell called Europe “a garden” and most of the world a “jungle” that “could invade the garden”. In a blog post published late on Tuesday, Borrell said his reference to a “jungle” referred to increasing examples of countries using force, intimidation and blackmail – behaviour at odds with agreed international norms. Borrell acknowledged that some dislike the metaphor because it has been used by U.S. “neo-conservatives”. “I am far from this school of political thought,” he added. (https://www.reuters.com/world/eus-top-diplomat-denies-jungle-comments-were-racist-2022-10-18/) But Mr. Borrell’s garden/jungle talk shocked traditional European allies who quickly denounced it. “What a terrible analogy Mr. Borrell has made,” said Bob Rae, Canada’s United Nations ambassador, in a tweet on Sunday. The United Arab Emirates on Monday summoned the acting head of the mission at the EU delegation to the UAE, asking for explanation of what it said were racist comments made by Borrell. A spokeswoman for Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, who is basically his boss, said that she retained confidence in him and did not offer any corrections to the garden metaphor.

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