The European Union must do more to defend its external borders against migrants, EU chief Donald Tusk said Tuesday, describing Europe as a "cultural community" whose heritage must be preserved.

While the president of the European Council insisted that Europeans are not superior to other peoples, his rhetoric of cultural preservation echoed in some ways the language of populist politicians winning support across Europe with calls to keep migrants from settling on the continent.

"We are a cultural community, which doesn't mean that we are better or worse — we are simply different from the outside world," Tusk said in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

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