Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob has a completely different opinion than Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer when it comes to the question of protecting the European Union’s external borders. When Golob arrived at the EU Heads of State meeting, he made it clear that he does not believe in the effectiveness of fences as a means to curb illegal migration. Meanwhile, Nehammer insists that the European Union’s funds should be used to secure its external border.
“EU funding is needed to strengthen the protection of our external borders on a large scale. This is what I am committed to as the Austrian Chancellor. For me, it is very clear: we need to put the brakes on offering asylum across Europe, and we need to start doing it now,” said Karl Nehammer.
“Slovenia’s experience shows that fences do not solve migration problems. This is the position I will defend today. We will not support funding for fences,” Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob announced on Thursday, thus taking the expected position that he has held since taking office. The new migrant policy has been to tear down the border fences, despite the increase in illegal migration and despite the fact that Slovenia has a very limited number of police officers who can carry out border protection duties.
On Wednesday, the news already broke that Chancellor Nehammer threatened to block the final declaration of the EU summit if no concrete agreements were reached on tackling illegal migration. “Empty phrases will not suffice. Finally, a clear and unequivocal commitment is needed, to strengthen the protection of external borders and to use the appropriate financial resources from the EU budget,” he told Germany’s media outlet Die Welt.
Nehammer believes it is time to put migration back on the European Council’s agenda. Austria, together with seven other EU Member States, is stepping up pressure on the migration issue. The eight countries in question, which have already written a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, want decisive measures to be taken, in order to help protect the EU’s external borders, including the setting up of necessary infrastructure and a stronger role for the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), the Slovenian Press Agency reports.
Given Slovenia’s migrant policy that is shaped to the Freedom Movement (Gibanje Svoboda) party’s liking, it is certainly not surprising that our neighbouring country Austria has not decided to abolish border controls on its border with Slovenia. Golob’s coalition simply does not understand that no one is claiming that a fence will now magically solve the problem overnight, but it is a fact that it will help limit migration, provided, of course, that it is properly erected and properly maintained.