A total of 12 European Union Member States have called for an update of the Schengen Border Code so ‘physical barriers’ would be permitted as border protection preventive measures through a letter addressed to the European Commission.
Austria, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia signed the letter named ‘Adaptation of the EU legal framework to new realities’ addressed to the European Commission VP Schinas, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson and the Slovenian EU Presidency, as reported by EURACTIV, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“Recent developments at the external borders of the European Union (EU) indicate that the EU needs to adapt the existing legal framework to the new realities, enabling us to adequately address attempts of instrumentalisation of illegal migration for political purposes and other hybrid threats” the EU interior ministers pointed out in their joint letter.
The letter came before the EU’s Home Affairs Ministers meeting planned to be held yesterday, October 8, during which Ministers would discuss the strengthening of the EU’s external border and screening and detaining migrant arrivals.
In this regard, previously, the Ministry of the Interior in Lithuania stressed that the cabinet approved the proposal to impose a 508-kilometre-long physical protective barrier on the country’s border with Belarus in order to deal with the influx of migrants from Belarus.
Back then, Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte emphasised that more than 1,000 migrants were detected at the country’s border shared with Belarus. According to her, migrants were attempting to reach the country in an unlawful way.
“Physical barriers appear to be an effective border protection measure that serves the interest of the whole EU, not just member states of the first arrival,” the EU interior ministers pointed out in the letter.
In addition, according to the ministers, such preventive measures should be funded from the budget of the European Union “as a matter of priority”.
Through the Schengen Border Code, EU countries are permitted to establish shared border crossing points with neighbouring countries outside the EU.
In the joint letter, the ministers also stressed that the EU migration and asylum policy “must be abuse-resistant”.
The issue of migrants and refugees continues to bring difficulties for authorities in the EU countries; however, no effective solution has been found to such a problem as yet.
Recently, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that several NGOs and media pointed fingers at officials in Greece and Croatia for being involved in illegal migrant pushbacks.