Friday, 24 May 2019

Prouza: Borders may be closed if migrant wave continues

ČTK |
16 February 2016

Prague, Feb 15 (CTK) - Uncoordinated closing of borders by individual EU member states if the refugees' influx does not weaken in the spring is a serious danger of the migrant crisis, Czech state secretary for European affairs Tomas Prouza told CTK on Monday.

The Visegrad Four (V4) countries or the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, whose prime ministers met in Prague on Monday, consider the agreement with Turkey the best way to deal with the migrant wave. However, this agreement is actually not working so far, according to CTK sources.

This is why a closure of the northern border of Greece is being debated behind the scenes in the EU.

"We all want the agreement with Turkey to work. The flow of refugees can be easily halted in Turkey. It will be much more complicated anywhere further in Europe," said Prouza ahead of yesterday's migration summit of the V4 countries with Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Last November, Turkey and the EU signed an agreement in which Ankara pledged to considerably reduce the numbers of people who illegally cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece in exchange for the European financial aid of three billion euros, progress in its EU accession talks and a freer visa regime.

Prouza said any other path but agreement with Turkey would be unpleasant for Europe.

It would be a serious problem if some of the EU member states decided to close its borders without a previous agreement with the rest of Europe, he added.

"If the flow continues in the spring and it strengthens, there is a serious risk of some country, either Germany or Austria, deciding to close its border itself," he said.

He added that this scenario would cause a domino effect making Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia close their borders gradually, too.

"It will be unorganised, lots of chaos will occur and thousands of people will get stuck somewhere on the way without having a chance of going there or back, which will naturally stir up immense unrest," Prouza pointed out.

Primarily German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing for tackling the migration problems with the aid of Turkey. Last week she talked about it with the Turkish president and PM.

However, some representatives of the EU and its member states recently criticised Turkey for not fulfilling its promises to help tackle the migrant wave.

The other alternative, closing the northern Greek border, would actually mean to exclude Athens from the Schengen Area, which is opposed by Germany. This plan B might start being debated in March if the migrants' flow did not weaken.

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