Analysis: European countries cannot protect the EU borders alone

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According to security experts, without a Europe-wide solution, states at the borders of the European Union cannot cope with a possible new migration wave. Strengthening of the European border guard Frontex will not be enough if the member states do not unify their migration and asylum policies.

The Czech Interests in the EU project published the results of its analysis on Tuesday, as the EU interior ministers discussed this issue via video conference.

Experts, including former NATO Military Committee Chairman Petr Pavel and diplomat Tomáš Pojar, agreed that security in Europe is high-level, but the protection of external borders needs to be reinforced. In this context, most experts welcomed the strengthening of the uniformed service Frontex corps agreed by EU member states last year.

“Strengthening the protection of the EU’s external borders and internal security, in general, is only possible with the sufficient will of the member states to delegate the necessary powers to the central level,” said Pavel.

On the other hand, former Ambassador Pojar believes that any form of transferred or shared border protection will not work.

“States that do not have an external border should contribute to those creating an external border in the Schengen area, given that these countries show a clear will to protect the Schengen border,” said Pojar.

He further added that Frontex should primarily support national border corps, not create its own.

According to political scientist Miroslav Mareš, the rapid transfer of people, materials, and finances is key to strengthening the EU’s external border.

“Strengthening border protection should take the form of flexible transfers of aid to the threatened European border, the creation of funds to finance such aid, and the support of the EU for nation-states at risk,” said Mareš, adding that Greece and Italy in particular need help with the external border protection.

Some experts have also pointed out that the EU has to intervene outside of its borders by providing both humanitarian aid and diplomatic support. The armed forces should be included in managing the situation, as well. According to these experts, authorities should not wait until another wave of migration arrives in the immediate vicinity of Europe.

“The problem, however, is that large EU member states are unable to agree on a common approach, and their interests in Africa often differ,” said security expert Radko Hokovský.

Title image: Migrants arrive at the village of Skala Sikaminias, on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing on a dinghy through the Aegean sea from Turkey on Monday, March 2, 2020. Thousands of migrants and refugees massed at Turkey’s western frontier, trying to enter Greece by land and sea after Turkey said its borders were open to those hoping to head to Europe. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

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