EU leaders call for tighter migration controls amid wave of borders | Europe | News and events from across the continent | DW
The controversial issue of refugees and migrants was high on the agenda as European Union leaders gathered in Brussels for the second day of their summit. Their meeting took place amid a wave of migrants and refugees trying to cross the Belarusian border into Poland, Lithuania and Latvia from countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Iran. .
Many EU leaders have accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of bringing illegal migrants across the border in an attempt to destabilize the EU. German federal police said last week that more than 4,300 people had entered the country from Poland after traveling from Belarus since August, compared to just 26 recorded from January to July.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda arrived for talks Friday morning with the 27 national leaders said Lukashenko was “arming” migration by pushing people together. He called on the EU to urgently review its migration policies and spoke of the need for a fence to control the border.
“We should also talk about a physical fence of the physical border, which is extremely necessary as a short-term measure,” he told reporters. “Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. Maybe there will be three, four, five thousand migrants who will stay at the border at the same time or try to cross the border in different places.
“We need decisions, we need actions, and we need to do it as soon as possible,” he said.
Warsaw deploys double troops to border with Belarus in response to wave of migration
He was backed by Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, who said the EU should help pay for any possible border walls. “Why should this charge be paid exclusively by Lithuanian taxpayers? He said before the talks.
Luxembourger Xavier Bettel, however, underlined that we should not forget the fundamental rights of people crossing the border. “All the measures we take must be in accordance with human rights,” said the Prime Minister. “We cannot just deprive people of their most basic rights, the right to asylum. Orderly migration must remain possible. We must find the right balance.”
Energy talks overshadowed by the rule of law
The first day of the summit, officially devoted to the emerging energy crisis, was overshadowed by a controversial debate on the rule of law in the EU, with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reiterating that he would not give in to “blackmail”.
Poland has come under fire after a ruling earlier this month by the Polish Constitutional Court that challenged the primacy of EU laws. Specific issues such as judicial independence, press freedom, women’s rights, migrants and the rights of LGBTQI people have put Warsaw at odds with the bloc.
“Some European institutions are arrogating to themselves the right to decide on issues that have not been attributed to them,” Morawiecki said ahead of the talks. “Neither the Polish government nor the Polish parliament will act under the pressure of blackmail.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and several other leaders have said it is time to be “tough” on Poland and not release the 36 billion euros ($ 42 billion) in grants and loans that Warsaw asked for EU funds to help its economy recover from COVID. -19 pandemic.
“If we are to continue to operate within Europe, you must be able to fully trust each other’s judicial systems,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said, adding that being a member of the EU meant accepting rules. shared. “You can’t belong to a club and say the rules don’t belong to me.”
But outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, attending what will likely be her last summit as EU leader, has warned of Poland’s isolation. “The rule of law is a central pillar of the European Union,” she said, while stressing the need to “come together” and solve problems without escalation. “A cascade of litigation before the European Court of Justice is still not a solution.”
The east-west dispute has undermined the EU’s efforts to deal with soaring energy prices and stick to its plans to tackle climate change. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, allies of Poland, have threatened not to endorse the conclusions of the energy summit unless the European Commission rethinks its historic policy package to cut emissions from 55% carbon from 1990 levels by 2030.
Ahead of the summit, Poland said Brussels would have to modify or delay parts of its planned policies that could “negatively impact the price of energy” and impose an “excessive burden” on consumers.