EU commission president says Europe will strengthen its borders, but doubts persist

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

The European Union will reinforce its external borders and take steps to prevent illegal migration flows, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels after a one-day summit of EU leaders on Friday morning.

Speaking at a press conference, von der Leyen said: “Migration is a European challenge that requires a European response. We must act together.”

“Learning from previous waves of migration, EU countries must act together. If the EU and its member states do so, there is no challenge that Europe cannot overcome,” she said.

Von der Leyen said that member state leaders had agreed to take a number of immediate, concrete, and practical steps, including increasing EU funding for border protection equipment such as vehicles, watchtowers, and surveillance technology, according to a report from Mandiner. They also stressed the need to complete the EU’s migration and asylum pact, which, as Remix News previously reported, is mostly a pro-migration package.

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However, there are already doubts she will follow through with any increased border protection, given the EU’s pro-migration stance and harassment of countries, such as Italy and Hungary, whenever they attempt to control their borders

In fact, French National Rally parliamentary leader Marine Le Pen said in 2020 that the EU’s migration pact is the “suicide of Europe” and could add tens of millions of migrants to the continent.

“The ‘Pact for Migration’ is deceptively humanist, anti-democratic, irreversible, destructive,” she wrote on Twitter. 

As Remix News reported last month, a total of 923,991 asylum applications were registered in the EU’s 27 member states in 2022, representing a 46.5 increase over 2021, according to European Commission data.

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Once again, Germany was the top destination, with the country seeing 226,467 applications. France came in second with 154,597 applications, followed by Spain (116,952) and Austria (108,490).

However, these asylum applications do not include the nearly 5 million Ukrainian refugees who fled into Europe over the course of the year. Germany, for instance, saw anywhere between 1.2 and 1.5 million migrants arrive in the country from Ukraine last year, which has overwhelmed reception centers and led to growing anti-immigration sentiment in the country.

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