Kallas: EU foresees problems well, but fails to take them seriously

Asylum seekers on the Slovenian-Austrian border (Rene Gomolj/AFP/Scanpix)
11/2/2015 12:40 PM
Category: Politics

Former Estonian prime minister and EU commissioner Siim Kallas said, speaking about the migrant crisis, that the EU often reacts too slowly.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a recent opinion piece that if the EU fails to solve the current migration crisis, the worst since the end of World War II, then the union could fall apart, ETV reported.

Kallas said the situation is bad: “Currently, member states differ greatly on their goals.” He added that the European Union has been in tight spots before, but has always found a solution.

“Looking back, the European Union has been very decisive in many matters, and has found solutions. Looking at the financial crisis – what had been achieved by 2012 was a complete fantasy in 2007. Taking charge of the economic and budget policies – if someone would have said in 2007 that all finance minister of member states have to submit a budget plan to the Commission in spring, that person would have been branded mad,” Kallas said.

Kallas said the pirate attacks in Somalia is another success story for the EU, which put together a military force and international cooperation, adding that in 2014 there were only nine pirate attacks, of which none was successful.

“We actually foresee these things in advance very well, but we do not take them seriously,” he said.

Speaking about the migrant crisis, Tallinn University international relations lecturer Catlyn Kirna said nations are erecting walls, but this has happened before and will probably happen again. “At some point these are taken down. It is likely that the Schengen space is temporarily closed or at least partially closed at some point, and later reopened. The migration flow will not last forever,” she said.

Kallas said the closure of the Schengen area would be very bad for Estonia, again turning the nation into a periphery.

Kirna, at the same time, said larger nations could suffer more, as they have more trade with other Schengen nations.

Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry board member Enn Veskimägi said the problem is the EU's outer border, which he says in not guarded.

Kallas said between 2004-2010 a bill to strengthen Frontex, the EU's border guard agency, was discussed by rejected as member states did not want to see border guards in EU uniforms. He said that bill is back on the agenda.

J.M. Laats

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