EU Representative Borrell Defends Europe’s Colonization of Latin America

DECEMBER 2, 2022

Josep Borrell, EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. Photo: EEAS.
Josep Borrell, EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. Photo: EEAS.

In a November 30 meeting between European and Latin American parliamentarians, the high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, made a controversial speech in which he defended the “values” of colonization and the Spanish colonization of Latin America.

Borrell addressed the European-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (Eurolat), a multilateral body composed of 150 parliamentarians from various countries of Europe and Latin America on Wednesday, November 30 and listed the reasons why the world is experiencing a “perfect storm” which, in his opinion, requires recalibrating the “strategic compass with full historical awareness.”

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“To navigate in this storm, neither the routes nor the maps of the past are of any use to us. Like the discoverers and conquerors, we have to discover a New World,” said Borrell, thus vindicating colonization as a paradigm in his speech, despite the fact that the European colonial powers had colonized America through violence, plundering, and exploitation of the indigenous people of the continent.

Borrell claimed that in this moment of global “turbulence” it is urgent to strengthen the ties between the European Union and Latin America. “We need each other more than ever,” he said, as quoted by

In recent months, the EU top official has insisted on turning towards Latin America, recognizing that while the European bloc does not want to “fall into new dependencies,” it intends to open its markets to a “fruitful relationship” with “economically and politically reliable” partners.

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Narrative of colonization
This is not the first time that Borrell has used the podium to defend Eurocentric, racist, and discriminatory ideas. In October, he described Europe as a “garden” and the rest of the world as “a jungle.”

“The jungle has a strong capacity for growth, and the wall will never be high enough to protect the garden,” Borrell had said in a speech in front of some students in October, which provoked widespread controversy and strong repudiation from the international community.

In the face of criticism, Borrell published a “clarification” on his blog, titled “On metaphors and geopolitics.” “Some have misinterpreted the metaphor as ‘colonial Eurocentrism.’ I am sorry if some have felt offended,” he wrote.

His clarification, however, did not abate the criticism. Many politicians and analysts have argued that Borrell’s words have only contributed to worsening the climate of intolerance and discrimination around the world.