EU tightens migration policy: the right strategy?


At last week’s EU summit, governments agreed to tighten the EU’s external borders and speed up deportations. Among other measures, in a pilot project EU funds will be used to reinforce the infrastructure securing the Bulgarian-Turkish border. A look at the press commentaries shows how controversial this topic is.


Le Figaro (FR) /

A long-awaited change of course

At last the stance in Brussels seems to be changing, Le Figaro rejoices:

“The precautions will include fixed and mobile fences, surveillance vehicles, cameras and watchtowers, and are to have all the features of a fence but without resembling a wall, a word that still annoys Brussels 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. ... If this policy is implemented on the ground, it should be a turning point. It would break with the inefficiency of Frontex and the cowardice of many member states.”

Yves Thréard
Corriere della Sera (IT) /

The result of dangerous ignorance

Corriere della Sera finds the push for tighter border security deplorable:

“Building walls in fact means reducing one’s own life to a confined area, a delimited space, a prison without exchange with the outside world. It means cultivating an insular and miserable view of people and knowledge. Material walls and mental walls are mutually dependent. They are the result of dangerous ignorance and terrible prejudice. ... It hurts to see European countries erasing their past: they no longer remember their migrants who tried to regain their lost dignity elsewhere.”

Nuccio Ordine
De Volkskrant (NL) /

Comprehensive policy instead of walls

De Volkskrant calls for the establishment of legal channels for immigration:

“There is enough work for migrant workers in an ageing Europe, and many young people in the rest of the world know that. ... If migrants can work legally as (seasonal) workers in the EU, they won’t need to use smugglers, nor would they have to pose as refugees. ... Migrants send billions of euros back home and thus also contribute to the development of their countries. There is no incentive for these countries to take back rejected asylum seekers unless there are quotas for legal migration. ... The EU must develop a comprehensive vision for migration and asylum. It will not regain control with defensive measures alone.”

Carlijne Vos
Badische Zeitung (DE) /

Try the carrot and stick approach

The Badische Zeitung approves of the plans to make the countries of origin shoulder more responsibility:

“The EU Commission wanted refugees to be registered at the external borders and then distributed fairly among member states. But more and more countries are rejecting this migration pact. ... That the EU wants to shift more responsibility to the countries of origin is not a new concept, but it may be a successful one. Many countries refuse to take back deportees. But with carrots (visa permits) and sticks (the withdrawal of visas or cuts in development aid) they are now to be persuaded to change this stance. It’s worth another try.”

Frauke Wolter
The Irish Times (IE) /

Avoid creating hostile atmosphere

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar needs to be careful about how he communicates the tougher immigration policy measures decided at the summit, warns The Irish Times:

“He must be careful that his language does not give succour to those whose goal is to generate an atmosphere that is unwelcoming to immigrants, including those who arrive here seeking asylum. ... The Government, it appears, is trying to sound tougher on the subject of illegal immigration in the hope that this will dissuade many people from coming to Ireland. ... But this is a delicate line to walk between implementing existing migration policy and being seen to move in response to the anti-migrant protests.”

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