Von der Leyen refuses to finance “barbed wire or walls” at the EU border, as demanded by some countries

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, wanted to make it clear this Friday that it was despite the fact that at least a dozen countries asked for it at the summit of EU heads of state and government in Brussels.

“It was discussed (…). There was talk of physical infrastructures, but it was clear to me that there would be no funding from barbed wire or walls,” concluded the chairman of the municipal council in a press conference at the end of the European Council, which was about devoted five hours to discussing immigration issues.

Von der Leyen refuses to finance “barbed wire or walls” at the EU border, as demanded by some countries
Von der Leyen refuses to finance “barbed wire or walls” at the EU border, as demanded by some countries

The debate has resulted in the differences between the first entry countries, who demand more solidarity from their partners in receiving migrants and more resources, and those who reject this responsibility, like Hungary or Poland, or those who fear it movements remain and are pressing for stricter surveillance at the external borders, for example in Germany or the Netherlands.

In this context, at least a dozen countries, including Greece, Hungary, Poland and Lithuania, but not Spain, have unsuccessfully tried to have the text of the conclusions reached by consensus among Heads of State or Government include a specific commitment on the possibility of funding the competent authorities the community carries the installation of physical barriers.

This group of countries has already tried a recent meeting of EU interior ministers, where Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson said she understood that some member states had built walls, but made it clear that shared resources would not do so.

In this context, the heads of state and government assume that more funds must be made available for migration control, but refer to other measures as the goal of the funds, for example measures to curb migration on the routes or measures to cooperate with the To strengthen countries of origin and transit.

In light of recent migratory pressures from Belarus, Lithuania and other countries in the region such as Poland have tightened border controls, even leading to serious incidents of migrants and accusations of hot return.

At the summit, some delegations attempted to include references in the text which, according to European sources, clashed with the guarantees of fundamental rights defended by others, resulting in an ambiguous wording combining the possibility of examining “changes in the framework” of EU law “and funding of appropriate measures, but limited to options” under European law and international obligations, including fundamental rights.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi confirmed this balance and celebrated the fact that the Conclusion Document has finally taken a “completely different direction”, leading to the removal of references to the funding of border fences, which undermines efforts to prevent secondary movements. by saying that “solidarity and responsibility” must go hand in hand.

District President Pedro Sánchez also celebrated the fact that the migration debate is being conducted at the level of the heads of state and government because it is “difficult” to find a common basis for reforming migration and asylum policy. He also recalled that Spain was committed to “strengthening financial instruments for cooperation” with third countries.

The 27 heads of state and government reaffirm their commitment to 27 to “react appropriately” to attempts by third countries to instrumentalise migration for political reasons. “The Council condemns any hybrid attack on the EU’s borders,” the text suggests, before warning of the consequences.

In the case of Belarus, they added, they will continue to respond to the attacks with the planned measures, including the “urgent” adoption of further sanctions against individuals and organizations.

“It is clear that several powers believe that migration has become an instrument of destabilizing Europe, so we need to protect ourselves,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, who added that these efforts should not take place, ” to forget our principles “.

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