site.btaEC Clarifies What Border Protection Measures It Can Fund
The European Commission on Friday further clarified what border protection measures it could finance after Austria asked the EU budget to provide two billion euro for the protection of the Bulgarian-Turkish border and EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson replied that this would lead to a lack of funds for other things.
EU countries best determine the means to fulfil their border protection obligation, a commission spokesman told a press conference. The EU is ready to help, he said, adding that the EC funds a host of measures and actions that help good border surveillance. This includes infrastructure, including portable infrastructure. The EC has always said that it does not fund or co-finance the construction of walls. This has not changed, he stressed.
According to the spokesman, there is no difference between a "wall" and a "fence", regardless of the materials used to build such facilities. Countries are obliged, regardless of the infrastructure used, to make sure that asylum seekers in Europe can come and apply for asylum. These issues cannot be dealt with 'in black and white'. The important thing is that we have not changed our view on how to support countries to protect borders.
He clarified that the EC can provide funds for border surveillance, for equipping border crossing checkpoints, for computer systems and their maintenance, for watchtowers.
On Thursday evening, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen sent a letter to EU heads of state and government pointing out the need to improve security at the Bulgarian-Turkish border. She added that border security could be improved with EU funds and that European countries could support the protection of the border between Bulgaria and Turkiye on a voluntary basis.