EU Commissioner against using funds to build external border fences


European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said that she did not support the use of EU funds for member states to build fences to protect the bloc’s external borders.

She was questioned on the matter during a press conference here after a justice and home affairs ministers’ meeting, reports Xinhua news agency.

While Johansson said she agreed that more had to be done to protect external borders, and had nothing against member states opting to build fences, the Commissioner believed that the use of EU funds to finance these projects was a bad idea.

A new pact on migration and asylum is available for the member states to adopt, and they have agreed to take important steps to better protect external borders.

“We have a lot of things on the table that need to be adopted and need to be implemented to protect our external borders before we present anything new,” Johansson said.

She was reacting to a letter sent to her and EU Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas by interior ministers from 12 member states on Thursday, asking for EU finances for border projects to stop illegal migrants from entering.

The letter was signed by the interior ministers of Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Slovakia.

“Physical barriers appear to be an effective border protection measure that serves the interest of the whole EU, not just member states of first arrival,” they said in their letter.

“This legitimate measure should be additionally and adequately funded from the EU budget as a matter of priority,” they added.