'Europe still driven by neocolonialism' says Belgian MEP on Borrell's speech

'Europe still driven by neocolonialism' says Belgian MEP on Borrell's speech
Belgian MEP for the radical left-wing party PTB Marc Botenga. Credit: The Left/Flickr.

In a speech at the European Parliament, the Belgian MEP Marc Botenga criticised the words of EU's highest-ranked diplomat, Josep Borrell, in which he compared Europe to a garden and the rest of the world to 'the jungle.'

At the inauguration of the European Diplomatic Academy in Bruges last week, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell gave a speech in which he praised Europe as "a garden" with "red lights controlling the traffic, people picking up the garbage."

His comments came under fire as he followed up by claiming that "the rest of the world is a jungle" and could "invade the garden," calling on the European 'gardeners' to engage with these 'jungles', so that they can build their own institutions "otherwise, it would be a kind of neo-colonialism."

In response to the controversy garnered by his speech, Borrell stated that the word 'jungle' was used to describe the increase of 'lawless' countries which he believes stand at odds against international norms and promote 'disorder.'

He claims it is in line with the "European approach to foreign affairs," which is based on the protection of the so-called 'European values' of peace, freedom and democracy, the opposite of what the top diplomat described as the jungle.

However, to believe that it is Europe's job to export these values to countries outside the EU27, as Borrell stated in his speech, reveals an uneasy truth about European foreign policy, which was pointed out by Belgian MEP Marc Botenga (PTB).

In a speech he gave to the European Parliament, the parliamentarian from the left-wing party PTB, stated that the comments harked back to the days of colonialism, by viewing Europe as a garden "where civilised human beings live" compared to other continents being seen as a "jungle."

"Many people remember very well how in the name of civilisation European colonialism treated them like wild animals," Botenga said of the similarities between Borrell's comments and the discourse of past European imperialism.

The Belgian MEP concluded his speech by saying that "the message that these people hear is that Europe is still driven by neocolonialism."


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