They flew over the question, which has become, it is true, banal: the European ministers of the interior and in charge of migration, meeting Friday October 8 in Luxembourg, did not want to dwell on this new affair of pushbacks (illegal refoulements) of migrants, revealed the day before by the investigative consortium Lighthouse Reports. This time, it was based on recordings proving the brutalities committed by members of the security forces, with their uniforms made anonymous, “special units” at work in Croatia, Greece and Romania, and whose financing could come from European funds.
The ministers of the countries concerned have promised to investigate. This is not the first time, and the possible results of previous investigations have never been disclosed. “We are not going to apologize, we are protecting the external borders and fighting against trafficking networks”, explained, from Thursday, the Greek Minister of Migration, Panagiotis Mitarakis.
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic talks about“An unacceptable normalization of violence”, while the European Commissioner for Migration, Ylva Johansson, for her part, said “Extremely worried”. But its services argue their inability to control, and possibly sanction, member states.
No action “as a Union”
During Friday’s discussion, Mr.me Johansson must have noticed that, on this subject as on others, his room for maneuver seems to be reduced from meeting to meeting. “We act as Southern, Eastern, Western or Northern Europe, but not as a Union” she lamented. Around the table, a consensus was only found to strongly condemn the attitude of the Belarusian regime and its instrumentalisation of migration: targeted by European sanctions for the violent repression to which it is engaged, the regime of Alexander Lukashenko led towards its borders with Lithuania and Poland thousands of people, mostly Iraqis.
Conjuring up what they call a “Hybrid attack” against them and the Union, the two countries concerned, supported by ten others, including Greece, Hungary and Austria, are now asking the Commission to finance the construction of walls at the Union’s external borders. They believe that this project should become a priority, because “For the benefit of the Twenty-Seven”. “European funds can only be used for integrated border management systems”, said a spokesperson for the Commission. Which excludes, a priori, the construction of walls
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