Migration is one of the most contentious issues facing Europe at the moment. How do we protect our borders? Are we building a “fortress Europe”? How can we ensure migration into the EU is orderly, fair, and humane? How much of a role should the European Union play, and how much should be up to national governments to respond individually?

What do our readers think? We had a comment from Bernard arguing that “basic common sense tells us” that Europe needs to do more to secure its external borders. Is he right? And, if he is, how exactly can Europe’s borders be “secured”?

How would you secure Europe’s borders? We asked Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their positions on this question, and it’s up to YOU to vote for the policies you favour. See what the different MEPs have to say, then vote at the bottom of this debate for the one you most agree with! Take part in the vote below and tell us who you support in the European Parliament!

Radical Left
Martina Anderson (GUE-NGL), Member of the European Parliament:

Indrek Tarand (European Greens), Member of the European Parliament:

Liberal Democrats
Jozo Radoš (ALDE), Member of the European Parliament:

Centre Right
Željana Zovko (EPP), Member of the European Parliament:

Angel Dzhambazki (ECR), Member of the European Parliament:

Asylum and refugee law should be harmonised at EU level so that it can be applied uniformly at the external borders. To this end, the previous enforceable individual right will be converted into an offer of assistance on a voluntary basis. This is the only way of coping with the current and expected future refugee and illegal migration flows and ensures that effective assistance can be provided. New arrivals should already be given a decision at the border as to whether they are allowed to enter or not. Each member state should retain the freedom to decide on the number of people to be admitted.

To achieve this, we obviously have to work together. My political group and I do not believe that Brussels bureaucrats should impose migration policies to the sovereign governments of the member states. Instead, Brussels should focus towards enabling cooperation through FRONTEX and the common defence of the external borders. It is a technical issue and not a political one. For any EU migration system to be sustainable, then it needs to have the full backing of all of its Member States and the people of Europe. The EU cannot continue to impose an immigration system that is backed by only a few of its Member States. A system of cooperation rather than compulsion must prevail.

Jiří Payne (EFDD), Member of the European Parliament:

Basically, I think the Schengen system is incorrectly designed. It was designed by Jacques Delors in the 1980s, and it was designed for the conditions of the Cold War. During the Cold War, it was possible to remove borders in Europe because there was just one enemy, which were Soviet spies coming to Munich. So, under such conditions the Schengen system was okay. But, today, we are living in a system where the enemy – the threat – is inside the European Union. And, under such conditions, the Schengen system is totally wrong.

I would design a system dividing Europe into regions, like Central Europe, Southern Europe, Scandinavia, etc. There, it’s possible to have something like a Schengen system, and such regions must protect their borders. Today, if Italians or Greece are protecting their borders from people who are coming abroad to reach Germany, it cannot work because the interests of Italy and Greece are totally different from Germany’s. So, it never will work.

On the other hand, the European Union is pushing Poland and Slovakia to protect the border with Ukraine absolutely, and there are electronic systems, and infrared systems, and whatever is possible – and basically nobody from Ukraine is crossing this border into the European Union. Why is the EU not insisting the same protection must be in Greece, and Italy, and Spain, and France? So, that’s a mistake of the European Union; it cannot work, it will never work.

IMAGE CREDITS: (cc) – wikipedia Bőr Benedek; PORTRAIT CREDITS: Dzhambazki (cc) – Titaka, Payne (cc) – Martin Kozák

Who do YOU agree with on this issue?


Results for this issue

See the overall results

54 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Stop doing business with human trafficking smugglers under fake charity organizations

    • avatar

      and that will achieve what exactly?

    • avatar

      Is the incentives are limited there’d be less interest to come and live in Europe on a welfare…isn’t obvious?!

  2. avatar

    Stop welcoming ships in European Harbour.
    Stop welcoming illegal traveller’s without visa
    Open gates on African territories. Maroc O Algeria and Libya to deliver visa
    Expell illegal migrants to these gates
    Help Spanish Greek and Italian sea patrols
    Solution exists it is just a question of will

    • avatar

      2015 saw 23x as many refugees as it took to completly overwhelm the Americans at sea in 1994. Not sure where the resources will come from here, since 1/3 of is currently free riding either the eu, nato, or both.

    • avatar

      with what resources? 2015 saw 23 times as many refugees as what it took to overwhelm the Americans in 1994. Is the plan to deploy the massive, well staffed Italian cardboard navy? Or….?

    • avatar

      almost non of the immigrants qualify for actual asylum, as most of them come from countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.
      The Syrians should have been returned till now, as ISIS is defeated.
      International law and commitments would require us to provide assistance, but not to permanently resettle immigrants.
      Remove all of the incentives for immigration will work.
      Prosecuting the NGOs and other human traffickers will also cut the inflow significantly.

  3. avatar

    By setting up adequate border defences in the way that Hungary has successfully done, and by then enforcing fully the laws in place against employing illegals or renting property to them. Plus arrangements with third countries for them to take refugees who arrive in Europe.

  4. avatar

    First of all stop involve in conflicts that produce those refugees, as long as we support the American policies in the area that will be the price to pay
    Stop allowing erdogan bulling around a union of 30 freaking nations
    Then with some better border control the flow eventually will stop

  5. avatar

    Dont give money to ONGs. They are trafficants paid by Soros

  6. avatar
    catherine benning

    How would you secure Europe’s borders?

    Before you can do anything else, stop all migration into Europe from outside its borders. Refugees to be directed to an island or area of land where they can be checked as to who, where from, reason seeking asylum and so on. Must have some form of documentation or provable state of origin. Children to be DNA tested for valid family connection. Proof of age. Criminal record. Health check. Including mental health check.

    Whilst residing in European checking centre, to be assessed as to cultural expectations, attitudes to Western lifestyle. Educated as to a European expectation of female freedom and equality, especially in their daughters human rights from birth. Language ability, working prospects, willingness to adjust to a Western lifestyle. And so on. How long it will take to acclimatise to the dramatic changes they will face within Western communities. How much it will cost the European tax payer to House, clothe, feed, educate, treat for illness in total and to foot all bills. Compare this with possible productivity and gain for the paying society. Including possible expected future children to each on entry.

    In the meantime, no entry.

  7. avatar

    Of course. Dont know why is such an issue to secure your borders.. secure borders is not building walls.. actually pátrol and secure, prevent walls ideas.

    • avatar

      Error 404. Military not found. Please increase military spending, cease free-riding the NATO alliance, and try again next year.

  8. avatar

    The borders are difficult to seal off, alas, in Europe, due to geographical limitations. However, we could conduct more search missions to find where illegal entrants hide, round them up, put them in jails (until jails are full), and quickly fingerprint them, tell them not to ever come to Europe again without a valid visa, and repatriate them to their last known identifiable origin country outside the EU where they started their illegal invasion from. Difficult, labour intensive, expensive, legally challenging, but nothing else will stop this madness.
    Present and future illegal invaders should get the message to be deterred from trying. If they would know that there is a 90% chance they would be caught, sit in jail, fingerprinted and expelled and put on Interpol lists, I think they would think twice before they would try to invade Europe illegally again, or at all. Peace

  9. avatar

    with a European fleet monitoring the sea roots since the high majority of immigrants come via the Mediterranean.
    When the ships find an immigrant boat they must rescue the people and return them back to the first country (Turkey, Libya, Tunisia etc)

  10. avatar

    By stopping welcoming them and controlling border police for corruption. Border police are closing eyes and helping smugglers, of course for the right amount. Stop saving ships full of migrants. Many, many ways, as long as you want to…. This is the big question! Do you want to? Merkel should be trone down of her position. Mainly her and French fault.

    • avatar

      none of that will work. If i had to chose to take my chances with ISIS or a small number of poorly organised drunken Bulgarian border guards reinforced by the cardboard greek navy, I’d take my chances on Europe. How about you?

  11. avatar

    Very simple:Coastal Patrol of Frontex on Lybian and Tunisian shores. Tight controls between Greece and Turkey.

    • avatar

      2015 saw 23x as many refugees as it took to overwhelm the us coast guard at seain 1994. Not sure how large you think frontex actually is

  12. avatar

    Gather all immigrants except children under the age of 13 and hand them over to the authorities of the country of origin.

    • avatar

      using what army?

  13. avatar

    Stop promising people things which you cannot deliver.

  14. avatar

    Well trained coastguard and walls, fences if needed!!!!! Stop inviting and legalizing migration. Illegal migration is not a human right, never was and never will be!!

    • avatar

      main problem is the ” sea ” borders, especially when your neighbour is Turkey, you see Turkey is blackmailing EU and Greece by questioning their ability to do search and rescue missions with ultimate goal to grab the Aegean sea and islands from Greece and their natural resources..
      The immigrants are aware of that so they sunk their rafts on prepus they literally stamp them with daggers.. ones in sea the border authorities mast contact a rescue mission in order not to give the excuse to Turkish to cross the border…
      For me there is only one solution, a powerful European armada that would force the Turkish to behave while coast guard is doing it’s job turning around those boats back to Turkey

  15. avatar

    The issue of immigration and border security is indeed a contentious one. In order to prevent the chaos that happened during the migration crisis in 2015-2016 between Turkey and Greece, one of the most vital things is to provide aid to humanitarian situations in the problem areas, so people don’t have to undertake the dangerous journey in the first place.

    There is a point in the lives of Middle Eastern peoples that will make them decide to flee for the situation. If this incentive to flee is reduced by better protection in their area, the burden at the European border will decrease, which will likely lead to a safer situation.

    When asylum seekers come in massive numbers to European borders the overview is easily lost, which means Europe does not have control and grip on smugglers and people whose intention is to benefit in an economical sense. Countries as Italy and Greece suffer from a geographical disadvantage because most asylum seekers come to these countries first when they arrive at the EU.

    These countries feel their safety decreasing, which already led to the rise of nationalist parties in Italy. Hungary is also an example that shows that nationalists solutions do not tackle a problem on European scale -even worse they make the problem bigger for other EU members. Border and immigration solutions can only work on a European scale.

    According to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is “someone outside his or her own country and unable to return as a result of a well-founded fear of persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a social group”.
    In other words, there should be a profound check if people comply with these requirements, outside the EU so countries like Greece or Italy do not have to carry the burden for the rest of Europe.

    A stronger and efficient cooperation with nearby countries in the east and North Africa is necessary, as well as for a stronger European border police to tackle safety problems. Also, a force -within Frontex for example- should be erected that is specialised in tracing and taking down smugglers.

    Europe has a certain carrying capacity that is not limitless. Clear agreements with countries such as Turkey and Libya are thereby vital to get grip on the immigration flow and get a safer situation at borders. Countries neighbouring to the EU can help the EU with intercepting smugglers and other potential dangers, so the burden of European borders is lowered. In this sense I agree with Željana Zovko from the Centre Right to engage partners from both side of the European borders and secure the safety and peace in the Balkans and middle east.

  16. avatar
    bert van santen

    Update Schengen. Allow international transport for goods. But install again national bordercontrole.

  17. avatar

    The immigrants come to Europe via the Mediterranean, walls, and fences are not a solution.
    Europe should force the transit countries (Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya) to accept back the immigrants which the European ships rescue from the sea. Also, Europe should send experienced personnel to the Mediterranean members (Spain, Italy, Greece) to help them with the asylum requests. When an asylum request is rejected there must be a European agency to send them back to their homelands.

    • avatar

      1) Experience shows that the fence works just fine, illegal entry is reduced by 98-99%.
      2) The countries should apply the laws as they are and not violate them, reinterpret them to please the liberal media.

  18. avatar

    The migratio is for social benefits. Same workers in EU still have halh the salary . If social benefits are biger than a salary who will work.

  19. avatar

    Europe’s borders and borderlands need to be secured, no question. Most agree on that. But we can do it without the propaganda about the migrants being criminals, and without the lies about how they’re all coming for a better life financially. Some are escaping war or persecution. But Europe needs to keep its identity and Europe needs to keep its citizens safe from terrorism. So Europe needs to have an honest discussion and stop letting the fascists lead the conversation on immigration.

  20. avatar

    1/Australia they have pass agreements with other countries to become their New borders
    2/Austria if you want to come and leave in the country you need to be fluent in English and German
    3/ ask a recipe from your bank to know how much do you have to know you can deal on your own without social benefits

  21. avatar

    By creating an EU army and opening military bases in North Africa and the Middle East

    • avatar

      haha , hope it’s just a bloody joke, right 😀

    • avatar

      so far the EU’s strategy was to pay billions of Euros to people like Gaddafi to contain the immigrants pressure on Europe and to get themselves involved into shady deals with gas, oil, and weapons with dictators like him.

    • avatar

      It would’ve been much better if Europe didn’t follow suit with the US going in to destroy those countries. Having no idea how the system works out there, taking down those so-called dictators, who were the only people knowing how to keep all those fractions and bay and not fighting each other. Anyway, we all knew it was not about democracy but plundering resources, wile creating migrans wave towards Europe, main purpose of the US to keep us weak and a mess.

    • avatar

      I am absolutely on 100% with you on that

  22. avatar

    Eu try to convince us that migrations are unavoidable. It is completely wrong. All countries control their border except EU. To me solutions is to have hot spots where conflicts are… Libya Syria… And deliver visa on the spot. Then with patrols of Frontex in Mediterranean seas we can control EU borders. We should not accept under age migrants avoid family regrouping expell all illegal migrants to hot-spot countries avoid to subsidy NGO avoid social aids during the first 3 years and welcome with dignity legal migrants

  23. avatar

    Really now!!!!!! Is one of the most continuous issues!!!! What a question!!!

    • avatar

      they just continue to ask again and again the same questions…………and is it really matter

    • avatar

      I agree with you!! I am just disappointed because Europe ( politicians) does not erect laws against this issue.
      They continue to ask again and again the same questions, they don’t see the answers…
      Have a good day Anelia!

  24. avatar

    Countries should apply the laws of Schengen and not be rewarded (praised, glorified) for violating them.

  25. avatar

    Europe isnt a country that the problem
    Didnt work for Caesar Bonnepart or Hitler
    Soon as the EU crumbles and the Karlegi plan stopped the better

    • avatar

      didn’t work for Caesar?
      What’s “work” for you?

    • avatar

      Yes, empires are inherently oppressive and are evil.

  26. avatar

    A global UBI issued by a ‘World Bank’ to abolish global poverty. Since money is created by debt, the bank could create the money, then press ‘delete’. Also to go green energy to stop resource wars. Leaves a few wars about borders which the ‘World army’ could sort out.

  27. avatar

    Simple. Stop silently supporting neocolonialism and unprovoked military escapades against sovereign nations. That would take care of the legit refugees (there would be less). Then, stop exploiting other nations and start making fair deals. That would take care of the economic migrants. There would be still some tricksters left (as always, because human traffickers need to be eliminated first), but those two actions would take care of the two major groups (legit refugees and economic migrants).

  28. avatar

    By stop trying to compete against Chinese in labour cost. The rest its about regional agreements.

  29. avatar

    what works as history proves again independent democratic countries

  30. avatar

    You know how!!!!!!!!! Stop asking stupid questions

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Hi Anelia. How would you secure Europe’s borders?

  31. avatar

    Even if you were to build a wall 10 meters high around Europe, as long as you let those ships pick up immigrants at sea, it will continue.
    Those Ships and their captains believe that they are above European law.
    These captains who determine the immigration law in Europe apparently.
    Only Frontex ships must are allowed to pick them up, but set them back ashore on the African continent.
    As soon as one notices that they are not automatically brought to Europe, only then will economic immigrants think before they board a boat.
    But the more illegal immigrants arrive, the more hatred there will be.
    Because people are slowly losing it.
    Look at the extreme right in europe.
    They revive because Brussels does not act decisively.
    They do have a lot of time to talk, drink and eat.
    They are only words, but not deeds ..!

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