Borrell says migration may be 'dissolving force' for EU: The Guardian
In an interview for The Guardian, Josep Borrell touches on migration and how the Ukraine war outcome will create a new world order in which Europe may not be such an important player.
Migration might be "a dissolving force for the European Union" because of significant cultural differences between European nations and their long-term incapacity to adopt a single strategy, according to the EU's Josep Borrell.
Borrell disagreed that the war in Ukraine was a contributing factor to the issue, which he described as a decades-old problem fueled by conflicts and poverty in the countries of origin.
In an interview for The Guardian, Borrell remarked that European nations had been forced to wake up from a nap on defense expenditure while living beneath the American nuclear umbrella.
He urged for better defense cooperation and faster decisions on weapon supplies to Ukraine, and during a New York University speech, he claimed the UN Security Council was "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its divisions” and called for an overhaul of political and financial institutions to revive a multilateralism that “is outdated and running out of steam."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 remarked that migration was leading the nationalist rise in Europe rather than Euroskepticism, adding that no country in Europe wishes to follow in the UK's footsteps and leave the European Union.
“Migration is a bigger divide for the European Union. And it could be a dissolving force for the European Union," adding that cultural and political differences within the bloc have made it incapable of agreeing on a common migration policy.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni recently vowed to prevent her country from becoming what she called "a camp for refugees" in Europe because of the large influx of refugees arriving from Africa and Asia.
He compared some countries to Japan, citing they wished not to mix with migrants, whereas others like Spain, have historically accepted migrants.
Ukraine not to blame for increased migration
“The paradox is that Europe needs migrants because we have so low demographic growth. If we want to survive from a labour point of view, we need migrants," the official expressed.
According to Borrell, it is not the Ukraine war but rather the Syrian war, the Libyan war, and military coups in the Sahel that have created increased migration pressure.
He also claimed that the "root causes of migration in Africa are lack of development, economic growth and bad governance.”
Borrell was behind much of the EU states' weapons to Kiev and when asked if the problems between certain eastern European nations and Ukraine over grain exports are a foreshadowing of future conflicts if the country enters the EU, he responded that it would be "difficult", due to Ukraine "being destroyed, literally" and due to the "reforms even before the war. And third, at this moment, Ukraine being a member of the European Union, it would be the only country that would be a net beneficiary.”
He expressed that although he was not calling for a Trump-like defense budget of 2% GDP, Europe was still a long way from the defense policy it needed.
According to the Euractiv news website, the European Parliament has endorsed the European Commission's plan to increase defense spending in the 2024 budget.
The European Commission stated in June that Europe's continued assistance for Ukraine and its refugees will be reviewed in the next assessment of the EU's long-term budget for 2021-2027.
Europe needs more unity
“Some decisions have been discussed for quite a long time. Do we have to provide tanks? This has been a long discussion, and at the end, we provide tanks. Do we have to provide Patriot anti-aircraft missiles? There has been a long discussion and at the end we did it. Do we have to provide air force capacities? This was discussed just at the beginning of the war. Now we are training pilots for the F 16. Certainly, a war is a war, and if you want to supply arms to someone who is at war and is receiving heavy attacks, the quicker the better.”
Touching on the hyped counteroffensive, he noted that Russia's fortification caused a stalemate in the battle, as it would be "suicide" to launch a frontal attack in that environment.
He believed the outcome of the war, along with Chinese-US competition and the rise of the Global South, would create a new world order and expressed that it was important to "avoid the alliance of China plus Russia, plus parts of the Global South."
“The people of the global south want to be recognized because 40, 50 years ago, when the world order was built, some of these countries did not exist. Either they were colonies or so poor they did not have a vote." Now, however, Borrell noted that they have become independent and have seen significant economic and demographic growth.
“There is no clear hegemon in the world but instead a growing number of actors.”
Borrell added that in 20 years, the $50tn economies will be China, India, and the US, and he compared that with the EU's economy, which he estimated would be at about $30tn, which, according to him, is a long-term challenge for Europe as they will have to seek "political influence, technological capacity, and unity. Unity is the keyword. Europeans have to be more united.”