After Donald Trump’s wall, fences to stop the arrivals of migrants. In a joint letter, the Interior Ministers of Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia have addressed a request to Brussels for funding to build barriers at their borders. Objective: to prevent migrants from entering their soil.
Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson, addressee of the letter, replied that countries had “the possibility and the right to build fences”. ” I am not against. But as to whether we should use the European funds which are limited, to finance the construction of fences instead of other equally important things, that is another question, ”she said in a statement. press conference at the end of a meeting of interior ministers in Luxembourg. She judged that “it was not really a good idea to make new proposals” while those of the Pact on migration and asylum – a reform project proposed by the Commission which comes up against the divisions between Member States – were always “on the table”.
A barrier “which serves the interests of the whole of the EU”
The ministers of the twelve countries consider that “a physical barrier appears to be an effective border protection measure, which serves the interests of the whole of the EU, not just the member states on the front line”. They stress that “border surveillance does not prevent attempts to cross illegally”, in their letter also sent to the Vice-President of the Commission Margaritis Schinas.
“This legitimate measure should be the subject of additional and adequate funding in the European budget”, ask the interior ministers of the twelve countries who demand a “strong response to counter the instrumentalization of illegal immigration and hybrid threats “. “No third country should be able to use our asylum system to exert political pressure and blackmail the EU and its member states, or to exploit the current situation in Afghanistan,” the ministers write.
Barbed wire fences in Poland and Lithuania
For its part, the Commission is preparing a reform of the Schengen Borders Code, the area of free movement comprising 22 EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Several thousand migrants have crossed the border between Belarus and the European Union, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland in recent months, and the EU accuses the Minsk regime of orchestrating these crossings, in retaliation for European sanctions.
Poland, like Lithuania, has started building barbed wire fences on part of their border with Belarus. Hungary, for its part, erected this type of barrier on the border with Serbia and Croatia (a member country of the EU but which is not in Schengen) during the migration crisis of 2015. Slovenia did the same with Croatia.