Von der Leyen: Managing the Bulgarian-Turkish Border is the Most Urgent Task for Strengthening EU's Land Borders
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, defined the management of the Bulgarian-Turkish border as the most urgent task in connection with the strengthening of the land borders of the EU. She said this to the plenary hall of the European Parliament in Brussels during a debate on migration and asylum.
Migration is a European problem that must be solved with European means, von der Leyen said and pointed out:
"The most pressing problems at the moment are on the land border between Bulgaria and Turkey. We can strengthen it with management capacity, provide infrastructure and equipment such as drones, radars and other means of surveillance, as we have done in the past years in Romania, Spain, Greece and Poland. We can also increase the presence of FRONTEX".
"Fences are also needed in exceptional cases. What is an exception is a possibility and should also be able to be financed by the EU," said EPP group chairman Manfred Weber.
This was opposed by the leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Iratxe Garcia. According to her, "we cannot become the fortress Europe, but we must defend the Europe of solidarity":
"It is difficult, after hearing the words of Mr. Weber, who talks about wire fences and walls, to understand that we need an understanding. It is very difficult. Even the President of the Commission von der Leyen mentions this. And we have to work with the thought of solidarity, of European values, of the horizon in front of us".
"When Bulgaria asks for help to strengthen this border, the Bulgarians hear that they cannot expect a single euro from the European budget. This is what European Commissioner Johansson answers them. Is this a worthy response from the European Commission?" asked EPP MEP Jeroen Lenaers.
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