Ilves: Schengen is in danger (3)
In an interview with CNN’s Christine Amanpour on Thursday, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said that the migration crisis should have been anticipated years ago, and that EU member states should show “far more solidarity” finding a way out of it.
“We should have already many years ago decided to improve dramatically our external border controls. But now that this is taking place, different countries in Europe need to show far more solidarity,” said Ilves. The President added that he had a somewhat different perspective, as he was the child of refugees.
He also pointed out that what was needed now were the funds necessary to deal with the refugee crisis, much like after the Second World War.
Ilves sees the Schengen Area in danger. He said that the lack of solidarity among member states would lead to greater fissures in the union, and that the countries refusing to take in refugees could expect a reaction from the net payers in the EU.
The net payers, Ilves said, would ask why they should be paying for structural funds and agricultural funds if these countries weren’t showing them solidarity.
Talking about the United Kingdom potentially leaving the EU, the President said that it was another sign of the current weakening of the union. Britain, in his opinion, could play a far greater role in the European Union than outside of it.
Asked about NATO’s European commander Gen. Philip Breedlove’s recent statement that Russia was “weaponizing” the refugees by specifically attacking civilian targets in Syria and forcing people to leave, Ilves said that the crisis had been instrumentalized rather than weaponized and that it fed into nativist and nationalist tendencies in several European countries.
Ilves also said that the post-war understanding of security in Europe, namely that no European country would invade another, had been undermined by Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and that for this reason Estonia remained a strong supporter of sanctions against Russia.