The next impenetrable razor-wire border fence in Europe should be built on the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Bulgaria’s borders with Greece, according Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the AP wrote.
Orban says it’s necessary because “Greece can’t defend Europe from the south” against the large numbers of refugees pouring in, mainly from Syria and Iraq”.
The plan adds another physical barrier between Greece and countries used as passage for asylum seekers and migrants to Europe’s 26-nation passport-free travel region, the Schengen zone, that is considered one of the European Union’s most cherished achievements. But it is the countries that are newer members to the European Union, and that are just recently enjoying what it means to be in a free Western zone, actually what it means to be the West, in modern and older political civilization, and live without borders as a European citizen . They were countries that lived behind razor soviet borders for almost 7 decades. Ex soviet countries.
As reported by AP, it is one of the new mini-blocs emerging lately in Europe due to the continent’s chaotic, inadequate response to its largest migration crisis since World War Two. The Visegrad group (an alliance of four Central European states – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) is also becoming a force that threatens the plans of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who wants to resettle newcomers across the continent while also slowing down the influx.
“The plan to build a new ‘European defence line’ along the border of Bulgaria and [FYROM] with Greece is a major foreign policy initiative for the Visegrad Four and an attempt to re-establish itself as a notable political force within the EU,”
said Vit Dostal, an analyst with the Association for International Affairs, a Prague-based think tank.
Representatives of these four countries are holding an informal meeting ahead of the European Union summit on February 18 and 19.
Germany’s Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that she would press for implementation of the EU’s migration deal with Turkey at the summit this week, saying the alternative of closing borders to limit the flow of refugees to Europe would have dire consequences for the bloc.
“I will fight with all my strength for the EU-Turkey agenda as the right way to tackle this,”
the German Chancellor stressed Speaking at a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Merkel said the summit was about whether the EU-Turkey pact could successfully tackle the causes of the migration, or
whether the bloc should “give up and instead close the Greek-FYROM-Bulgarian border with all the consequences that would have for Greece, the European Union and the Schengen zone.”
On Monday, February 15, the representative of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas had made clear that
the EU’s response to the refugee crisis will be in cooperation with Greece and not against Greece,
invited to comment on the meeting of the “Visegrad four” with governments of FYROM and Bulgaria, to promote the proposal for the closing of borders to Greece.
Shinas emphasized that based on the latest Commission figures, there is significant progress in the registration of refugees and migrants in Greece.
Greece’s Defense Minister Panos Kamenos announced on Tuesday that Greece has met its deadlines and commitment to EU to have the hot spots ready before February 18th,and that the four five hotspots were already functioning .
Spokesperson for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship of European Commission Tove Ernst, also, stressed at a press conference:
“Any action to the FYROM border will be undertaken in cooperation with the Greek authorities and Frontex”.
Ernst Tove said that an additional EUR 10 million of European aid was given to FYROM, in order to improve the management of migration flows at its borders and in particular for the better systematic controls and better monitoring of the borders and identification and registration of third countries nationals.
She stressed though that this aid is not to finance the construction of any fence,
“the work of the Commission is aimed at the management of the border and not on closing them”.
In regard with the construction of hotspots in the Greek islands, Tove expressed the Commission’s satisfaction with the work in progress .
In Berlin, government spokesman Steffen Zaimpert reiterated that the main priority for Berlin is to improve the guarding of the European Union’s external borders as a prerequisite for the maintenance of Schengen.
“From the perspective of the German government, it remains imperative to improve the guarding of EU’s external borders. This is the main requirement to put in order and to control and eventually reduce the flow of refugees’,
adding that “Without effective guard of external borders, the freedom of movement within the Schengen area will be jeopardized”
German spokesman Steffen Zaimpert added that “when we talk about a European solution, we mean a solution of the whole of Europe, which (solution) does not bypass any european country nor is it against an individual member state”.
Commenting the article of Sigmar Gabriel, to which the German Vice-Chancellor is against the possibility of the exclusion of Greece from the Schengen, he said: “I understood the text of Sigmar Gabriel as a very strong advocacy for european solutions – for european rather than national solutions. And this is a fundamental belief of the government”.
Strengthening the control on the Bulgarian-Greek and Greek-FYROM borders will not lead to a solution for Europe but will result only in a change of migration routes,
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov also, had said on February 15 in Prague.
Borissov was in the Czech Republic capital as a guest at a meeting of the Visegrad Group – made up of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia – at which the migrant crisis in Europe was the key agenda item.
Greek Prime Minister’s Office earlier last week had strongly denounced the Visegrad countries’ blame game .Go to this story
Visit our Aegean Borders Special Page on greek2m
sources: sofiaglobe, Independent Balkan News Agency , AFP, New Europe, balcan eu