European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Friday that the European Union will not fund “barbed wire and walls” at its borders to prevent migrants from entering, as requested by 12 countries, including Lithuania and Austria.
“I was very clear that there has long been a common position of the Commission and the European Parliament on the non-allocation of funds for barbed wire and walls,” von der Leyen said at the conclusion of a 27-country summit in Brussels, during which the problem was discussed.
Lithuania has erected a barbed wire fence along the border with Belarus to stem the flow of migrants, which it accuses President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime of orchestrating.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda announced in Brussels on Friday that such measures are “absolutely necessary in the short term to address this crisis”.
“If Lithuania is building a fence . it should be able to count on our solidarity. It is not up to the Lithuanian taxpayers to finance it alone,” said the new Austrian Chancellor, Alexander Schallenberg.
Interior ministers from 12 countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia – wrote in a letter to the European Commission on 7 October asking the European Union to finance the construction of fences.
“A physical barrier appears to be an effective border protection measure, serving the interests of the entire European Union and not just the Member States in front line, “the letter states.
Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson replied at the time that states had “the ability and the right to build fences”, adding succinctly: “As to whether or not limited European funds should be used to finance construction of fences instead of other things of equal importance, that’s another thing. ” “.
Poland, like Lithuania, has started building a barbed wire fence on a section of its border with Belarus. As for Hungary, it established a similar barrier on its borders with Serbia and Croatia during the migration crisis in 2015. This was also done by Serbia with Croatia.
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