Dutch PM wants to "detoxify" border fences discussion; Unlikely that EU will fund them
Prime Minister Mark Rutte does not see the European Union financing the construction of border fences. The European Commission is against the idea. Some member states like Luxembourg, Spain, and Portugal are also against Brussels financing fences, the Prime Minister said during a debate in parliament on the European summit that starts on Thursday.
Rutte wants to “detoxify” the discussion about the border fences. According to him, the debate now almost looks like “we want to build a great Berlin Wall around the European Union.” Among other things, the member states are discussing a fence on the border between Bulgaria and Turkey to stop uncontrolled migration.
Border fences can be “sometimes very useful,” said the Prime Minister. He says there will always be gates in it so that people can enter. And it doesn’t always have to be a fence, either. Sometimes it can be mobile surveillance or a combination, the Prime Minister said. He does think that the external border should be better guarded.
Financing for border fences will always be a combination of different sources, he thinks. According to him, the European Commission can “definitely” co-finance tine infrastructure at the external borders, but the executive board of the EU has opted for member states to pay for the construction of border fences themselves.
Migration will be an important topic during the European summit. Rutte is one of the drivers of the subject, partly under pressure from his own VVD. The summit will look at, among other things, how safe countries can be encouraged to take back asylum seekers who have exhausted all legal remedies. No decisions are expected from this summit.
Reporting by ANP