High levels of illegal immigration is an ongoing concern for the EU. In light of this, it’s just announced that the bloc as a whole will be tripling its spending, which will now be €5bn a year. The money will include the funding of 10,000 new guards to patrol land and sea borders. In addition, it plans to introduce new infrastructure at the EU’s borders, which includes new scanners, automated number plate recognition, sniffer dogs and mobile labs for analysing samples.
However, the Commission has insisted that it won’t be funding the installation of fences on any borders, which was recently requested by Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban. A commission statement said its funding was “aimed at ensuring proper control of borders, not closing them. The commission has never financed fences and will not do so under the new EU budget either.”
Frans Timmermans, the commission’s first vice-president, said in a statement: “Based on past experience and the knowledge that migration will remain a challenge in the future, we are proposing an unprecedented increase in funding. Strengthening our common EU borders, in particular with our European Border and Coast Guard, will continue to be a big priority.”
There have been disputes between EU member states over asylum policies for over two years; although the new funding has been welcomed, there are still fears that this could cause additional tensions. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are already being taken to the ECJ over their refusal to take part in a mandatory quota system, which all three countries still aren’t taking part in.
This has resulted in some states taking a greater share of asylum seekers than others, and several countries like Austria and Denmark has proposed closing their borders and setting up camps in non-EU countries. Herbert Kickl, Austria’s interior minister and a member of the far-right Freedom party, has recently been quoted saying that the EU needs a “small Copernican revolution” on migration policies.
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