Migrant issue risks dissolving EU says Borrell

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The migrant issue risks dissolving the EU, the bloc’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell told the Guardian.

Migration could be “a dissolving force for the European Union,” because of the deep cultural differences between countries and their long-term inability to reach a common migrant policy, he said in an interview.

“Some members of the EU have a ‘Japanese’ style: we don’t want to mix, we don’t want migrants, we don’t want to accept people from the outside. We want our purity,” said Borrell, stressing that, on the contrary, Europe needs migrants to counteract falling demographic trends.

He called for greater defence cooperation and quicker decisions on the supply of weapons to Ukraine and defended the faltering counteroffensive, saying the country was one-third mined and it would have been suicidal for Ukraine to have mounted a full-frontal counterattack.

At a subsequent lecture at the New York University Law School, he said the UN security council had been proved “completely useless in recent years due to its divisions” and called for an overhaul of political and financial institutions to revive a multilateralism that “is outdated and running out of steam”.


Borrell insisted in the interview that the war in Ukraine was not fuelling the current rows over migration. “The issue is that migration pressure has been increasing, mainly due to wars – not the war against Ukraine … It is the Syrian war, the Libyan war, the military coups in Sahel.

“We are living in a circle of instability from Gibraltar to the Caucasus and this happened before the Ukrainian war and will continue after the Ukrainian war. Migration in Africa is not being caused by the war against Ukraine. The root causes of migration in Africa are lack of development, economic growth and bad governance.”

Borrell predicted the war in Ukraine, and the eventual outcome, would be one of the three driving forces creating a new world order, alongside competition between China and the US, and the rise of the global south.

He admitted he was no fan of the term “global south” to describe such a heterogeneous group of people but that an entity existed that “consider themselves part of an alternative to the western models”. He said it was critical to “try to avoid the alliance of China plus Russia, plus parts of the global south.

“For Europe this represents a huge long-term challenge. Europeans have to be prepared to be part of the new world in which we will be a smaller part of the population, certainly, and also in proportion to the size of the world economy. It means that we have to look for political influence, technological capacity and unity. Unity is the key word. Europeans have to be more united.”

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