anti-migrant measures in Europe

Advertisements

► Spain – Morocco

♦ Date of construction: late 1990s

♦ Project initiative: Spanish government

♦ Origin of the blocked migratory flow: Sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb

About eight kilometers long, the barrier of Ceuta materializes, with that of Melilla, one of the two land borders between Africa and Europe. Its construction was spread out in the 1990s and was notably reinforced in the fall of 1995.

Ceuta is a peninsula largely bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. A double fenced enclosure – whose height reaches 10 meters in some places, after several enhancements – is topped with barbed wire on the Spanish side. On the Moroccan side, a 2.50 m fence represents a first obstacle. Patrols on both sides delimit a neutral zone between the two. Thousands of migrants from North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa try to cross it every year.

In May 2021, around 10,000 migrants – an unprecedented influx – managed to enter the Spanish enclave, against a backdrop of diplomatic tensions between Morocco and Spain. Most of them were sent back to the Cherifian kingdom in the days that followed.

Walls, barriers, barbed wire: anti-migrant devices in Europe

The other Spanish enclave, Melilla, is also isolated by a physical barrier of almost 12 kilometers, built along its border with Morocco since 1993, then raised or reinforced over time. In July 2021, more than 200 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa crossed the fence, two months after the Ceuta episode, another record according to the Spanish authorities.

► Greece – Turkey

♦ Date of construction: 2012

♦ Project initiative: Greek government

♦ Origin of the blocked migratory flow: Africa, Near and Middle East

The border between the two countries is the scene of regular tensions. In February 2012, Greece launched the construction of a barbed wire wall on a little more than 12 kilometers of land border with Turkey, in the region of the Evros river – the rest of the border being difficult to cross. In October 2021, a new 40 kilometer metal wall was completed, and drones were used as many Afghans tried to cross, after the Taliban took Kabul.

Walls, barriers, barbed wire: anti-migrant devices in Europe

► Bulgaria – Turkey

♦ Date of construction: 2014

♦ Project initiative: Bulgarian government

♦ Origin of the blocked migratory flow: Near and Middle East

After an increase in the number of migrants linked to the Syrian crisis, Bulgaria finalized, in the summer of 2014, along its border with Turkey, the construction of a fence three meters high and 30 kilometers long, with the addition of barbed wire. Five months later, the Bulgarian government announced a 130 kilometer extension. The device was also reinforced by cameras and the deployment of border guards. In 2023, Bulgarian President Roumen Radev, supported by the Austrian government, requests two billion euros from the European Commission to extend this fence. Without success so far.

Walls, barriers, barbed wire: anti-migrant devices in Europe

► Hungary – Serbia

♦ Date of construction: 2015

♦ Project initiative: Hungarian government

♦ Origin of the blocked migratory flow: Near and Middle East

During the height of the “migration crisis” in Europe in 2015, Hungary faced an influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants heading for northern Europe. Believing that the European Union was not doing what was necessary to contain these flows, it took the decision – controversial in Europe – to close its border with Serbia in the summer of 2015. It has thus built two metal palisades of 175 kilometers with barbed wire, electronic equipment and patrols to close the main access point for migrants. Since then, border crossings have decreased significantly, but the Hungarian government doubled its fence in the spring of 2017.

► Hungary – Croatia

♦ Date of construction: 2015

♦ Project initiative: Hungarian government

♦ Origin of the blocked migratory flow: Near and Middle East

After Serbia, Hungary set up, in September 2015, two sections of fence (approximately 40 and 80 kilometres) and barbed wire between its country and Croatia to deal with the new route of migrants on the Balkan route. Part of the border (more than 300 kilometers long) between the two States is delimited by a river, which makes it difficult to cross in this part.

► Slovenia – Croatia

♦ Date of construction: 2015

♦ Project initiative: Slovenian government

♦ Origin of the blocked migratory flow: Near and Middle East

Slovenia was also faced with strong migratory pressure in the mid-2010s. From November 2015, it erected discontinuous rows of barbed wire over 80 kilometers, mainly on the south-eastern part of its border with Croatia, and deployed the army in order to stop strategic crossing points for migrants. Since then, several extensions have been made, and a barrier made of fences, and sometimes barbed wire, now closes more than 210 kilometers of a border which is about triple it, and which is difficult to cross because of several rivers. (Kolpa, Drava, Wall).

Advertisements

In northern Slovenia, Austria erected a fence of almost 4 kilometers in December 2015 at the Spielfeld entry point, between the two states, after having considered a total closure of its border a few months earlier.

► North Macedonia – Greece

♦ Date of construction: 2015

♦ Project initiative: Macedonian government

♦ Origin of the blocked migratory flow: Near and Middle East

The construction of a 2.50 meter high fence with barbed wire between Greece and North Macedonia, a state from the former Yugoslavia, began in November 2015. This was intended to stem the flow migrants who were trying to leave Greece at that time. Barely three months later, a new fence of several tens of kilometers accentuated the sealing of the border. The consequence of these closures was the formation until May 2016, and then in later periods, of an improvised camp of thousands of migrants in Idomeni, a small village in northern Greece.

Walls, barriers, barbed wire: anti-migrant devices in Europe

► France – Great Britain

♦ Date of construction: 2010s

♦ Project initiative: British government, French government

♦ Origin of the blocked migratory flow: Near and Middle East, Africa

Over the 2010s, many additions of barriers and fences were made in Calais, near the port, the Channel Tunnel, or other strategic places to prevent migrants of various nationalities from reaching Great Britain. . A green “anti-intrusion” wall 4 meters high and one kilometer long, erected in autumn 2016, was funded by the United Kingdom. The city of Pas-de-Calais, its port area and several roads are now criss-crossed by tens of kilometers of fences.

► Poland – Belarus

♦ Construction date: 2021

♦ Project initiative: Polish government

♦ Origin of the blocked migratory flow: Near and Middle East, Africa

During the summer of 2021, Belarus opened its doors to thousands of migrants, to protest against the European Union’s refusal to recognize the result of the August 2020 presidential election, confiscated by outgoing President Alexander Lukashenko. The EU will denounce this way of using migrants as a “diplomatic weapon”.

From July 2021, Poland is installing barbed wire and deploying thousands of soldiers along its border with Belarus, before reinforcing its system in early September with a 2.50 meter high fence. Finally, she decides to build a wall. At the beginning of January 2022, the Polish government confirmed the launch of its construction over nearly 190 kilometers. The colossal construction site of this new anti-migrant wall was launched on Tuesday 25 January. The work was completed in the summer of 2022.

Walls, barriers, barbed wire: anti-migrant devices in Europe

► Lithuania – Belarus

♦ Construction date: 2021

♦ Project initiative: Lithuanian government

♦ Origin of the blocked migratory flow: Near and Middle East, Africa

During the summer of 2021, Lithuania experienced the same influx of migrants from Belarus as Poland. Vilnius announced in July its intention to build a border wall. The first barbed wire fences were installed in September, and the works for 110 kilometers of separation (barriers and barbed wire with a height of 4 meters) were completed in December 2022.

► Latvia – Belarus

♦ Construction date: 2022

♦ Project initiative: Latvian government

♦ Origin of the blocked migratory flow: Near and Middle East, Africa

In 2017, Latvia had started the construction of a fence topped with barbed wire along its border with Russia for several tens of kilometers. In November 2021, Parliament passed a law on the construction of a 136 km long fence along its border with Belarus. This project is planned for a cost of 28 million euros.

Other physical separations exist on the European continent, but their main purpose is not to stop migration: they aim to reduce trafficking, or to separate the belligerents in past or current armed conflicts, as in Belfast, in Northern Ireland, or on the island of Cyprus.

——-

The European Union does not finance the walls

In October 2021, the interior ministers of twelve European countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) asked the European Commission for funding for the construction of fences at their borders. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen refused the request. “I have been very clear that there is a long-standing common position of the Commission and the European Parliament that there will be no funding for barbed wire and walls”she said on October 22, during a summit in Brussels.

On Thursday January 26, 2023, in response to the pressing request from Bulgaria and Austria in particular, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson reiterated this position: “There is no money in the EU budget for this. If we had to spend money on walls or fences, there would be no money for other things”, she said before a meeting of interior ministers in Stockholm. Conversely, the President of the European Council Charles Michel opens up the possibility. According to him, such funding is “legally possible”.

Source link

Advertisements

Scroll to Top