News > EMI Policy Update: EU Should Refrain from ‘Fortress Europe’ Approach

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EMI Policy Update: EU Should Refrain from ‘Fortress Europe’ Approach

The Security and Migration Summit, hosted by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Salzburg this week, holds potential for disagreement as much as disappointment, before it rounds off with an EU27 format on Brexit. In line with the Austrian Presidency’s ambitions to promote a “Europe that protects”, EU leaders will discuss ways to curb illegal immigration, protect external borders and help EU countries cooperate better on security matters.

Few common solutions on immigration, border control and relocation have so far been found among Member States, and the informal nature of the meeting gives little hope for meaningful results. Europe has been witnessing an increasingly tougher stance on immigration from countries such as Austria, Italy, Hungary, Poland and Sweden. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron both confirmed their will to protect EU borders, strengthen Europe’s border force Frontex and reinforce the expulsion of illegal immigrants. On the EU-level, back in June, leaders called for the creation of “disembarkation platforms” in North Africa and in his State of the Union Speech last week, Commission President Jean Claude Juncker announced 10,000 additional border guards by 2020.

The European Movement International believes that any approach to reduce arrivals to the EU must, however, never be at the expense of ensuring access to protection for those in need. Member States should, therefore, refrain from adopting a ‘Fortress Europe’ style solution, as this runs counter to the founding values of the Union which emphasise openness and inclusiveness.

Input from the European Movement International

To this end, and as elaborated in our Policy Position on ‘Migration and Europe: Protecting fundamental rights’, the European Movement International welcomes developments towards a European Union Asylum Agency and supports the fair sharing of responsibility to host asylum seekers and refugees.

As discussed in our Policy Position on security cooperation, we emphasise the need for the implementation of the EU Agenda on Migration to be fully coherent with the overall direction of the EU’s foreign and security policy. As a substantial financial contributor to development cooperation, the EU should continue its work to address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement. This should, however, not lead to development aid being used to strengthen the ‘Fortress Europe’.

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