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The European Parliament Cannot Decide on the Financing of Border Fences

Border fences and barbed wire

“If we want to show solidarity, then we must restore order at our borders by building fences where necessary, if necessary,” EPP spokesman Jeroen Lenars said after submitting an amendment to fund barbed-wire border fences. On Wednesday, April 19, the European Parliament narrowly passed an amendment allowing the use of EU funds to support the construction of border fences and barbed wire, but then voted against the broader budget bill to which it was attached.

The topic of EU-funded border walls and barbed wire has caused major controversy in Brussels in recent months after EU leaders passed their own version of the resolution at an EU Council summit back in February, when they called on the European Commission to immediately mobilize substantial EU funds and funds. to help countries on the bloc's outer borders strengthen their capacity and infrastructure for border protection. And although the Commission agreed to fund only surveillance personnel, vehicles and equipment, the agreement was generally seen as a de facto permit for the construction of barbed-wire fences, as Member States now had the funds to reorganize their own border security budgets, even if commission chairman Ursula von der Leyen stated categorically that there would be no funding for barbed wire and fences.

But even though the amendment was passed, the budget proposal did not receive enough support in the end, which appears to be partly due to divisions among conservative forces. Earlier in the day, European conservatives and reformists also attempted to pass their own amendment, which instead of implicit language called for the EU to directly fund border fences and protective barbed wire barriers, but the vote failed. However, the vote will not have any direct impact as the Commission's draft budget is expected to be presented to Parliament around the end of May or early June, and there will be ample opportunity to debate and amend it.