European Union leaders have pledged to provide “substantial” funding for border personnel and surveillance equipment, while avoiding direct support for border wall construction. EU countries are calling for help in paying for their border fences as migration continues to rise. The EU stance on border security has hardened since the peak of the 2015-2016 Syrian refugee crisis.

EU Increases Funding for Border Security

At a recent EU Council summit, leaders discussed various proposals to curb illegal immigration. Some countries asked for financial support for border fences, while others emphasized the importance of returning rejected asylum seekers. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz argued that walls are not effective solutions, pointing to the ongoing debate over the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Despite this, EU leaders agreed to strengthen border control measures, with Austria leading the push for more resources from the EU. The final statement from the summit calls for the European Commission to provide “substantial EU funds and means” to assist countries in strengthening their border infrastructure and capabilities. The statement mentions specific equipment and technologies, including aerial surveillance.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer praised the outcome, calling it the EU’s strongest language yet on the issue. He stated that EU border countries like Bulgaria will now be able to use EU funds for border personnel and vehicles and then use their own funds to reinforce their borders.

Other countries, including Hungary, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Greece, also signed a letter supporting stronger border measures. The letter is similar to one sent in October 2021 by 12 member states requesting EU funding for border barriers.

In conclusion, the EU is determined to manage its borders and has agreed to provide funding for border security personnel and technology. The EU has not crossed the red line of directly funding border wall construction, but it remains committed to strengthening its external borders.