European Commission: we will not finance barbed wire and anti-immigration walls

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Friday that the European Union would not pay for “barbed wire and walls” at its borders to keep migrants out, even though 12 countries had asked for this to happen. These twelve countries included Lithuania and Austria.

It was very clear that the European Parliament and the Commission have long shared the view that money should not be spent on walls and barbed wire. von der Leyen said this at the end of a 27-country meeting in Brussels where the issue was discussed.

Lithuania built a barbed wire fence along its border with Belarus to stop the flow of migrants that it says is being organized by President Alexander Lukashenko’s government.

On Friday in Brussels, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said that these steps are “absolutely necessary in the short term to address this problem.”

“If Lithuania builds a wall,. It should know that we will stand with it. “It is not up to the people of Lithuania to pay for it all by themselves,” Alexander Schallenberg, the new chancellor of Austria, said.

Twelve European Union interior ministers—from Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia—wrote a letter to the European Commission on October 7 asking the EU to pay for the building of walls.

“A physical barrier seems to be an effective way to protect borders, and it would be good for the whole European Union, not just the frontline Member States,” the letter says.

At the time, Ylva Johansson, the commissioner for home affairs, said that states had “the ability and the right to build fences.” She also said, “As to whether or not limited European funds should be used to finance the construction of fences instead of other things that are equally important, that is another thing.”

Along with Lithuania, Poland has begun constructing a barbed wire fence along a part of its border with Belarus. When there was a migration problem in 2015, Hungary built a similar wall along its borders with Serbia and Croatia. Turkey and Croatia did the same thing.

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