Austria’s Chancellor Wants More Border Walls
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer visited the border fence between Bulgaria and Turkey, January 23. This fence, built by Bulgaria, aims to reduce Turkey’s ability to flood its neighbor with migrants, a geopolitical weapon that has put intense pressure on Eastern Europe. The chancellor affirmed his support of Bulgarian President Roumen Radev’s request to the European Commission for €2 billion (us$2.1 billion) to extend the border fence.
In December 2022, Chancellor Nehammer affirmed in an interview that fences and walls “have an effect” when it comes to stopping illegal migration. His comments came after illegal migration to Austria increased by 195 percent during 2022 (latest data from October).
On January 26, European Union interior ministers met in Stockholm, Sweden, to discuss how to send more migrants back to their countries of origin.
A prolonged battle: The issue of obtaining EU funding for border walls is nothing new. However, it has received more attention during 2022 because of a spike in illegal migration. In January 2022, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson denied another request to fund border walls, blaming budget constraints: “I must say I have a little bit the impression that you think EU funding is unlimited. It’s not.”
Misleading comments: While it is true that Europe is straining to fight a multifront war against illegal immigration, this does not mean that its borders are lacking in fortification. “The European Union says that it builds bridges, not walls. Yet all around Europe, tall walls and fences, bristling with sophisticated technology, are being erected,” stated the Telegraph in a special report. According to the Telegraph, current border fortifications are equivalent in length to 12 Berlin Walls.
According to an EU fact sheet:
- Between 2014 and 2022, the total length of border fences grew from 315 kilometers to 2,048 kilometers.
- There are 19 separate sections of border walls and fencing.
- Six countries have more than one span of border wall: Spain, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Latvia and Lithuania.
- Lithuania has the longest continuous span, 502 kilometers, at its border with Belarus.
The EU does not officially fund border walls. Yet since 2015, it has given Hungary €22 million of “emergency assistance” that has gone toward reinforcing the border.
Why it matters: Many Europeans are increasingly wary of mass migration because of how it threatens their personal security. As these challenges become more difficult to ignore, more Europeans will desire a strong leader and a tougher migration policy.
We watch Europe’s response toward migration because this crisis will eventually allow a strongman to take power.
Learn more: To understand how such a leader could profit from the migration crisis in his quest to control Europe, read our free booklet A Strong German Leader Is Imminent, by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry.