EU high rep compares Europe to “garden” and rest countries to “jungle”
    Are Borrell's statements important?

    ANALYTICS  23 June 2024 - 12:40

    Babek Karimov

    EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, former socialist and now one of the leading European officials Josep Borrell has once again attracted attention with his provocative and false statements against Azerbaijan.

    The accusations are ironic taking into account Borrell's past, full of controversy and scandals.

    “As for the situation with detainees from Karabakh, the EU calls on Azerbaijan to observe the legal procedure, basic principles for the protection of detainees and ensure transparency,” Borrell said while answering the MEPs’ questions.

    “The EU believes that confidence-building measures, including the release and repatriation of Armenian prisoners held in Azerbaijan, can benefit the peace process and start to strengthen confidence between the sides,” Borrell added.

    It is a fact that the detained people are accused of heinous crimes, and that the Azerbaijani court will definitely punish them within the law. Who is Borrell? Why should his words be regarded with skepticism?

    Corruption scandal as of 1999

    Borrell was forced to abandon his candidacy for the post of Prime Minister of Spain in 1999 (from the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party) after a corruption scandal.

    Two of his senior assistants in the Finance Ministry received bribes. This incident greatly damaged Borrell’s reputation and became the first scandal.

    Abengoa company’s stock scandal

    Borrell was fined by the Spanish stock market regulator for selling Abengoa company’s shares owned by his ex-wife in 2018.

    The shares were sold shortly before the company filed for bankruptcy, raising suspicions of insider trading.

    "Garden" and "Jungle" metaphor

    Borrell caused widespread controversy with comments comparing Europe to a "garden" and the rest countries to a "jungle" in October 2022.

    This statement was perceived as an imperialistic and racist one and was criticized both inside and outside the EU. Despite the apologies, Borrell's true face was obvious.

    Interview with Deutsche Welle

    While serving as Spanish foreign minister, Borrell suspended an interview with German journalist Tim Sebastian during “Conflict Zone” top political show on the Deutsche Welle in 2019.

    This occurred during the discussion of the constitutional reform in Spain and Catalan independence. Borrell accused Sebastian of “lying” and said the journalist was asking biased questions.

    Although Borrell returned to the interview after consulting with aides, the atmosphere remained tense and he demanded to ask less bias questions.

    This is real “freedom of speech” from the European official who is now teaching others.

    Borrell's statements on the US independence

    Borrell also repeatedly made scandalous statements, for example, claiming that the US achieved its independence by “killing just four Indians”.

    These comments caused outrage and criticism for his ignorance and lack of respect for historical facts.

    “Why does the US have a higher level of political integration? Firstly, the Americans speak one language. Secondly, they have no history. They achieved independence by killing only four Indians,” Borrell said while delivering a speech at an event at the University of Madrid in November 2018.

    These examples are just some episodes associated with Borrell, and describe the figure who holds a leading position among the EU officials criticising Azerbaijan.


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