Ben Norton EU Foreign Policy

In Neocolonial Rant, EU Says Europe Is ‘Garden’ Superior To Rest of World’s Barbaric ‘Jungle’

EU foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell showed the West’s neocolonial mentality claiming “the world needs Europe” as a “beacon” and beautiful “garden” to civilize the barbarous “jungle” in the Global South. He also called for regime change to create a “post-Putin Russia.”
EU foreign-policy chief Joseph Borrell says Europe is a superior “garden” and “beacon” that must civilize the violent “jungle” in the rest of the world

By Ben Norton / Multipolarista

The European Union’s top foreign-policy official showed how the colonialist mentality is still very much alive on the continent.

EU foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell said “Europe is a garden,” which is “beautiful” and superior to the vast majority of the countries on Earth. On the other hand, he claimed, “Most of the rest of the world is a jungle, and the jungle could invade the garden.”

Borrell argued that “the world needs Europe,” because it is a “beacon” that must civilize the rest of the world.

The enlightened Western “gardeners have to go to the jungle,” he insisted, because if the supposed barbarians are not tamed, “the rest of the world will invade us.”

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, wellbeing.

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”:

There is a big difference between Europe and the rest of the world – well, the rest of the world, understand me what I mean, no? – is that we have strong institutions. … The big difference between developed and not developed is not the economy, it is institutions.

Here, we have a judiciary – a neutral, independent judiciary. Here, we have systems of distributing the revenue. Here, we have elections that provide a free for the citizens. Here, we have the red lights controlling the traffic, people taking the garbage.

The big difference between us and an important part of the rest of the world is that we have institutions.

Despite his implications, countries across the Global South do indeed have independent judiciaries, tax services, free elections, traffic lights, and garbage collectors. But the EU’s top foreign-policy official apparently believes that the majority of the world’s population consists of illiterate knuckle-dragging cavemen.

Borrell evidently could see that his comments were racist, so he cautiously added, “I cannot go to emerging countries and build institutions for them – they have to be built by them. Otherwise, it would be a kind of neo-colonialism.”

But while he superficially rejected neocolonialism, Borrell’s remarks reflected a blatant neocolonialist mentality.

And the EU foreign-policy chief’s use of the term “emerging countries” made it clear that his rant was aimed specifically at the formerly colonized nations in the Global South.

EU is waging a new cold war to integrate ‘post-Putin Russia’ into West-led hegemonic system

In the same October 13 speech, Josep Borrell obliquely acknowledged that the West is fighting a new cold war against Russia and China.

“Now, we are definitely out of the Cold War and the post-Cold War. The post-Cold War has ended with the Ukrainian war,” he said.

Borrell made it clear that the EU’s goal is regime change in Moscow, to create a “post-Putin Russia” that can be integrated into the Western-dominated imperialist order.

“After this war [in Ukraine], it will become a period of instability and we will have to build a new security order,” he implored. “How do we integrate Russia – the post-Putin Russia – in this world order is something that will put a lot of work for people thinking on diplomacy, and on how to practice and to implement it.”

In the address, Borrell also praised US diplomat George Kennan, who was himself a staunch cold warrior and architect of the “containment” policy against the Soviet Union.

Borrell called this moment a “time of exceptional change,” and said, “We live in a world of power politics. The rules-based system that we defend is challenged like never before.”

“And we are certainly living also a ‘moment of creation’ of a new world. Because this war is changing a lot of things, and certainly it is changing the European Union. This war will create a different European Union, from different perspectives,” he added.

In the entire speech, Borrell only once acknowledged criticism. “There are people who say that this war means the end for the European Union to have a foreign policy because we are following blindly the United States,” he conceded. But he insisted that this is false, and that Brussels is creating its own independent policies.

Borrell’s remarks followed a similar address given the day before by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the EU Ambassadors Conference in Brussels.

As Multipolarista reported, von der Leyen warned that China and Russia are “threats” in a “war for the future of the entire world.”

The EU leader declared the China-Russia strategic partnership a “global challenge” to Western hegemony, and she called for weakening their influence in the Global South, cutting their access to raw materials, opposing Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, and expanding the EU.

Borrell complains ‘too many’ countries abstained in UN vote against Russia

In his October 13 address, Josep Borrell boasted that the European Union had spent a lot time and resources pressuring countries around the world to vote at the United Nations the day before to oppose the incorporation of the former Ukrainian regions of Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia into the Russian Federation.

“There was a lot of work behind it, a lot of outreach to many people in order to be sure that we were above the 140 line – which was the result of the first vote,” he bragged.

But he complained that “too many” countries in the Global South refused to condemn Russia.

“I have also to say that I am worried because there were too many abstentions,” Borrell lamented. “When more or less 20% of the world community decided not to support or not to reject the Russian annexation – for me, it is too many. It is too many.”

Discussing threat of nuclear war, EU pledges ‘the Russian army will be annihilated’

When discussing the proxy war in Ukraine, Borrell also cavalierly touched on the possibility of nuclear war. The EU foreign-policy chief pledged that, if the conflict escalates to that degree, “the Russian army will be annihilated”:

And then, there is the nuclear threat and Putin is saying he is not bluffing. Well, he cannot afford bluffing. And it has to be clear that the people supporting Ukraine and the European Union and the Member States, and the United Stated and NATO are not bluffing neither. And any nuclear attack against Ukraine will create an answer, not a nuclear answer but such a powerful answer from the military side that the Russian Army will be annihilated, and Putin should not be bluffing.

This is a serious moment in the history, and we have to show our unity, and our strength and our determination. Complete determination.

Borrell has repeatedly opposed attempts at brokering a peaceful, diplomatic settlement to the conflict in Ukraine. He instead publicly insists that the only solution is a military victory: “This war will be won on the battlefield.”

Benjamin Norton
Benjamin Norton

Ben Norton is a journalist, writer, and filmmaker. He is the founder and editor of Multipolarista, and is based in Latin America.


  1. And yet both D/Rs continue to express overwhelming support for showering weapons on Ukraine – insisting that the only desirable end is the defeat of Russia and Putin …

  2. This attitude is exactly why Russia, China, India, most of Africa, South America, East Asia……. most of the globe are ready to do without the arrogant, greedy, bossy “international community” with its own rules, all of which colonial mentality powers are “living at others’ expense” as Pres. Putin clearly put it.

  3. How does what this man says contribute to peace and prosperity? Europe is a wonderful place; I’ve been there several times. But, Europe is not Europe solely because of Europeans, and certainly it’s develop meant hasn’t been without help from other peoples on the globe. This man is a crack-pot. He doesn’t even know that he is. Is this the shining example of the master race?

  4. A stark example of projection! How delusional these racist colonialists are! And NO! The world, i.e., the “Global South” does not need Europe! Except for Europe to give back the wealth it has stolen from it over the last 500 years. Which of course, it is still doing! Mr. Borrel has conveniently forgotten what Europe was prior to its grand theft of the Global South and its wealth; A cold, resource poor, overpopulated, disease infested, warmongering barbaric continent! The historical record is quite clear on this! And he speaks with the presumptuousness as if the Global South does not have the judgement to know who their friends and enemies are! Great critique Ben.

  5. I can only subscribe to Mr. Burrel’s words and I find the author’s gratuitous use of the monikers ‘colonialist’ and ‘racist’ to villify the EU offensive and ill-considered in this context.

    The EU are a haven of democracy, tolerance, honesty, freedom of speech and ethical society compared to countries like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. Three of whom are outright disctatorships, and one is a democracy in name only (due to the destruction of free speech, poisonous state propaganda, and ingrained criminality of the ruling clique).

    This fact alone is set to irk people who feel they ought to amplify whatever warts the EU has out of proportion to whitewash the world’s autocracies. Perhaps it led to this article.

    Anyone who witnesses India’s relentless and intolerant assault by Hindu extremists on e.g. Muslims will share misgivings about India’s future under its current party. Let’s not forget that the widespread bloodshed after India’s independence that led to the formation of both Pakistan and Banghladesh have their root in sectarian and racist violence that has deep roots in Indian society. If any other evidence were needed, one need only look at the Indian caste system (again propped up by Hinduism) that condems millions to a life as second-rate citizen in their own country and cuts them off from economic or societal upward mobility.

    The stability and cohesion of EU society (even after the refugee crises, Covid, the Russian energy boycott) sets it miles apart from the kind of society we see in sub-saharan Africa. There are all kinds of external reasons why people in Africa are so badly off but one of the main reasons is the utter callousness almost any politician displays who ascends to power in Africa. No-one seems to be interested in building a pluralistic and inclusive society. Or if they are, this is quickly shown to be a non-starter in their national political arena. In that respect Mr. Borrel is exactly right.
    It is an act of deliberate fault-finding by the author to label this observation ‘racist’.

    The jibe about Europe’s history of the past 500 years is just this: a cheap jibe. In human history, whenever one group had ascendency over others in military and economic respect they used that to subjugate and exploit others. Europe was no different. It was more successful, but no less (or more) ethical than all the rest. It reflects a serious bias to judge Europe by higher standards than the rest of the world. And there we see the underlying racism emerge in the author’s narrative. He takes it as given that Europe ought to know and behave better than the rest.

    What Europe can indeed show most the world is that it is possible to do better than they themselves are doing: less violence, less corruption, less incompetence, and less gratuitous cruelty. Not because Europeans somehow have an innate superiority, but because they have built institutions that are genuinely helpful in building and maintaining a better society.

    What matters is what Europe does now. One can argue it is still as selfish as everyone else, but not that it is not trying to help. Unlike lots of other countries and cultures.

    So much for the first part of the article. The second part is even worse. Somehow the author seems to feel that condemnation of Russia’s illegal war of aggression against the Ukraine and subsequent annexation of parts of its territory is somehow negotiable.

    We see the daily reminders of Russian brutality, war crimes, institutional corruption, criminal negligence with respect to their own soldiers by Russian officers and the Russian elite and the resultant low morale of Russian troops and their poor performance in combat. This is an endemic failure of Russian society as a whole and it dooms Russia’s war of conquest in the Ukraine: a majority of citizens in the Russian occupied territories does not want to be Russian and never did. But it is something the author steadfastily refuses to recognise

    I feel that this article is typical of a type of sentiment that will applaud any sneer and any atrocity as long as it’s aimed against the West.

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