Czech President : EU needs to close southern borders to save Schengen zone … OPEN EUROPE June 28, 2018 at 10:34AM

Czech President : EU needs to close southern borders to save Schengen zone … OPEN EUROPE


Czech President : Europe needs to close its southern borders if it wants to save the Schengen zone

Czech President Andrej Babis yesterday told German newspaper Bild, “If we want that the Schengen zone continues to exist, then Europe needs to close its southern border and
support its southern member states.”

He warned, “If Germany introduces border controls, then Austria will do the same, and this would be the de facto end of the Schengen agreement. It would affect everything: the economy,
international transport, tourism and the EU’s reputation.” He also called for the creation of refugee disembarkation platforms outside the EU, where “migrants can await the results of their asylum process.”

Elsewhere, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez warned that unilateralism cannot be the answer to migration issues and called for a “shared response to a shared challenge.” Referring
to the Italian government’s unilateral decision to close its ports to some migrant rescue boats in recent days, Sánchez said, “I think the Italian government needs to reflect on whether unilateralism is an effective response to a global challenge such as migration,”
adding, “I’m more in favour of cooperation. It’s important to talk to the Libyan government about reinforcing border mechanisms in Libya.”

Separately, in an interview with the Financial Times, Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras yesterday said his country was open to an agreement with Germany on “secondary movement.”
Tsipras said, “We don’t care about the fact that maybe we’ll have some returns from Germany if this will help, in order to give the signal to the smugglers [that Europe is tackling illegal migration flows].”

However, he also stressed that “the dilemma we have ahead is more serious than . . . agreements for secondary movements,” adding, “The dilemma that we have ahead is what Europe do
we want?,” and suggesting that the Dublin Regulation needed to be overcome and that it was “out of life.” The Financial Times also reports that Germany was willing to offer Italy help in restructuring its banking sector in exchange for assistance in curbing
secondary movements.

This comes as European Council President Donald Tusk yesterday warned, “More and more people are starting to believe that only strong-handed authority, anti-European and anti-liberal
in spirit, with a tendency towards overt authoritarianism, is capable of stopping the wave of illegal migration,” adding, “A precondition for a genuine EU migration policy is that Europeans effectively decide who enters European territory.

Failure to achieve this goal would in fact be a manifestation of our weakness, and above all, it could create the impression that Europe does not have an external border.” He called
on the EU member states to increase EU-level funding to combat illegal immigration, and to endorse the “setting up [of] “regional disembarkation platforms outside Europe” as well as “stepping up our cooperation with countries of origin and transit.”

Open Europe’s Leopold Traugott today appeared on CBNC Europe, where he discussed possible compromises in the migration talks, arguing that the focus for German Chancellor Angela
Merkel will be to conclude bilateral agreements with other EU member states. Traugott was also cited in the Christian Science Monitor, saying that the concept of refugee “disembarkation platforms” or “reception centres” outside EU territory was gradually developing
from a fringe idea into a realistic possibility.


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