“They have the right, but with their money”

BRUSSELS – The European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said during a press conference yesterday afternoon in Luxembourg, at the end of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, that she understood the member states who intend to build walls or barriers to better protect their borders , and to have nothing against it; he specified, however, that he did not agree with the request that these structures be financed with EU funds, but only because the EU funds dedicated to the management of the external borders are “limited”.

This is the answer to the 12 Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Slovakia) who yesterday, with a letter sent to Brussels, asked for just this: Community funding for the construction of walls and barriers to stop migrants trying to enter the EU from Belarus.

This is a new position on the part of the Commission, which under the presidency of Jean-Claude Juncker had claimed to be “against walls”, and which even with the current President Ursula von der Leyen had always limited itself to remembering that the competence over border management is national and therefore it is the Member States who decide; but he had never, until now, expressed explicit support for the construction of walls and barriers.

Today, however, Commissioner Johansson said that “we really need to strengthen the protection of our external borders. Some Member States – he continued – have asked to build barriers and finance them with EU funds. I understand them and I am not against it. But that it is a good idea to finance its construction with EU funds, I don’t think ».

“We have presented proposals for the protection of external borders – added Johansson, responding to those who asked if the Commission supports the positions on immigration of the Member States that ask for walls to be built -, proposals that allow Member States to face crisis situations and promote interoperability; we have many proposals on the table and I believe that the States should now approve them, perhaps amending them, instead of presenting new ones ».

‘I say this on behalf of the Commission, and not in a personal capacity: our position is that Member States have the right and responsibility to protect their borders, and that they are best placed to decide how to do so; on condition, of course, to respect the EU acquis (law and jurisprudence, ed) », insisted the commissioner.

«So – concluded Johansson – if the Member States want to build barriers, they can do it, I have nothing against it. But if you ask me if we should use the limited Community funds we have available, this is another question “, also because, he recalled, the funding for the management of the external borders was reduced by the Member States during the latest negotiation for the EU multiannual budgetary framework for the period 2021-2027.

(with source Askanews)

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