Washington siege a ‘wake-up call’ for democracy, top EU diplomat says

The “shocking events” in Washington “must be a wake-up call” for democracy advocates around the world, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said Sunday in response to the deadly siege of the Capitol building.

“Wednesday’s bewildering events show how damaged and divided the American society is after four years of Trump administration,” Borrell wrote in a blog post.

The Spanish politician said he was shocked by the “mob assaulting the Capitol Hill” in Washington last week, and recalled an attempted coup in his home country in 1981, when Lieutenant-Colonel Antonio Tejero led 200 armed Civil Guard officers into congress during a vote to elect a prime minister.

While noting that the events in the U.S. capital “cannot be compared with the assault on the Spanish Congress,” Borrell said that “one cannot underestimate the significance of what happened and the potential disaster caused if the matter had derailed even further.”

“What we saw on Wednesday was only the climax of very worrying developments happening globally in recent years,” Borrell said.

To avoid a further erosion of democratic values and institutions, Borrell said “we must stand up immediately to every violation of the independence of democratic institutions … to every inflammatory and hateful speech by demagogues, to every disinformation campaign and fake news.”

Borrell called for reflection on “the root causes” fueling such forces, citing the “dysfunctions of our economies,” including tax evasion, the “weakening of the ability to regulate large multinational companies” and high unemployment, and called for increased global cooperation.

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