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luni, 25 octombrie 2021 - 19:04

EU should pay for walls against migrants, 12 nations tell bloc

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Twelve member states have urged the European Union to pay for countries to build walls to prevent illegal migration, in a letter sent to the bloc’s executive arm.

Ministers from nations including Austria, Greece, Hungary and Poland describe a physical barrier as an effective border measure that serves the interest of the whole EU, not just member states of first arrival, according to the text of the letter seen by Bloomberg.

“This legitimate measure should be additionally and adequately funded from the EU budget as a matter of priority,” said in the letter sent to Margaritis Schinas, vice president of the European Commission and Ylva Johansson, commissioner for home affairs.

Lithuania, one of the signatories of the letter, has already decided to build a 508-kilometre long fence on its border with Belarus to stop an unprecedented wave of migrants pouring into the EU’s east. Neighboring Latvia, which also signed the letter, has dusted off a similar plan to build a 134 kilometre-long barbed wire fence on its border with Belarus. 

The arrivals are part of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s strategy to retaliate against EU sanctions against his government over his crackdown against pro-democratic opposition, Lithuanian and EU officials said. Lukashenko denies these allegations.

The ministers from the 12 countries appeal for tougher provisions as the commission prepares changes to the Schengen Borders Code. They said there are currently no clear rules as to what actions member states can take in case of a hybrid attack with a large inflow of illegal migrants pushed by a third country to exert political pressure.

A commission spokesman said the EU has received the letter and will answer it. He added that EU funds are available only for integrated border management systems.