Ursula von der Leyen says EU will not fund ‘barbed wire and walls’

11 months ago 137

The EU volition not money “barbed ligament oregon walls”, the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said, successful defiance of calls from immoderate governments to physique protective defences against migrants seeking to participate the bloc.

A fig of EU leaders person voiced concerns successful caller weeks implicit a emergence successful numbers seeking to transverse the bloc’s borders, with 8 radical having died astatine the Polish border with Belarus successful caller months.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus’s president, has been accused of seeking to orchestrate an EU crisis, successful an enactment of “hybrid warfare”, by pushing migrants from the Middle East and Africa crossed its’ borderline in effect to sanctions.

At a summit of EU leaders successful Brussels, Alexander Schallenberg, Austria’s chancellor, said that “building a wall” connected the Lithuanian borderline could beryllium 1 method of defending the EU against what helium called Lukashenko’s “cynical policy”.

“We besides should speech astir a carnal obstruction oregon carnal border, which is highly needed arsenic a short-term measure,” Lithuania’s president Gitanas Nausėda added arsenic the 2nd time of the acme got nether way. “Because cipher knows what volition hap tomorrow. Maybe determination volition beryllium three, four, 5 1000 migrants staying astatine the borderline astatine the aforesaid clip oregon trying to transverse the borderline successful antithetic places … We person to beryllium decisive.”

But astatine the extremity of the leaders’ meeting, Von der Leyen, who has been tasked with uncovering a solution, said the EU would not succumb to specified calls.

“I was precise wide that determination is simply a longstanding presumption successful the European Commission and successful the European parliament that determination volition beryllium nary backing of barbed ligament and walls,” she said. “We volition support up the unit connected the Lukashenko regime.”

Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s premier minister, had been among the bulk of leaders who had besides refused to endorse EU-funded borderline walls during the five-hour acme discussions.

“I’d beryllium ashamed to spot a obstruction with a motion ‘financed by the EU’ connected it,” helium said. “These radical are not being treated adequately, besides by assorted European countries. An orderly migration indispensable stay possible. We request to find the close balance.”

The numbers of migrants and refugees seeking to participate the EU stay comparatively debased for a bloc of 450 cardinal people. Only astir 5,100 person arrived crossed the Mediterranean truthful acold this year, with respective 1000 thought to person crossed to the 3 EU countries neighbouring Belarus – Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

But the EU’s borderline agency, Frontex, said this period that astir 134,000 had tried to transverse into the bloc this year, astir 50% supra the figures reported for the archetypal 9 months of 2019, earlier the Covid pandemic.

After the lengthy discussions, the leaders deleted a clause successful the acme ceremonial communique that would person seen the bloc perpetrate to “funding of carnal barriers astatine the outer borders”.

“The EU remains determined to guarantee effectual power of its borders,” they agreed instead.

Despite the alterations, Nausėda described the result arsenic a “satisfactory effect for Lithuania”.

He said: “I deliberation present our partners recognize precise good the menace the frontline countries consciousness lasting successful the look of attacks from the Belarusian regime.”