Special European Council: Press remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell upon arrival
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Today, the first thing I will do is to brief the leaders about the situation of the Dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. I will inform [them about] the last developments, the last contacts.
The proposal is on the table. I have been calling the two leaders [of Serbia and Kosovo] to come back to Brussels – soon, in a couple of weeks – in order to definitely push for this proposal.
And I will ask the leaders for a strong support in order to avoid any kind of escalation, and ask them to work seriously on this proposal, which is the only way to try to solve and normalise the relationship between Kosovo and Serbia.
We have been going from crisis to crisis. Now, it is time to de-escalate and to work constructively.
Secondly, on Ukraine, I will participate in a debate where, together with President [of Ukraine, Volodymyr] Zelenskyy, the result will be - I am sure - more support for Ukraine: providing more arms, more military support, more financial support in order to make Ukraine able to resist the Russian aggression.
Finally, on migration: “Fortress Europe” is not a solution. Migration is as old as humanity.
The problem is not to cut migration, but to manage it. To manage it in a human way, first of all. It is an important part of our external policy. More and more, migration is at the core of our relations with a lot of countries around the world, with our partners. And we have to work with them and tackle the root causes of migration and to make migration managed.
We can ask people to take back the irregular migrants, but we have to offer lines of regular migration. Because, first, Europe needs migrants. And, secondly, it is a way of dealing better with our partners around the world.
Q. Devastating earthquake in Türkiye and Syria. Are you going to be talking about it?
Yes, certainly, the [European] Council will take this issue under discussion. Yesterday, I went to the Turkish embassy to express my condolences. It is a great tragedy. And Europeans are fully mobilised, sending all rescue equipment, medical capacity to try to support Turkey and Syria in this situation.
Q. You say that migration is important for Europe. Will you say that to the leaders who think that there is a migration crisis right now and who want to build a fence outside of Europe?
Well, I would not say there is a migration crisis. Certainly, the number of migrants and asylum seekers is increasing in the Eastern Mediterranean, decreasing in the Western Mediterranean and the Central Mediterranean.
It is not a crisis: it is an increase in the number of people arriving. This is something that responds to root causes. People move because in their countries there is no future, there is no peace, there is no stability.
We have to take migration as an important part of our external policy. When we talk with our partners, we have to offer something on migration more than just “Take your people back!”. Take your people back, but offer them the possibility of opened channels of regular migration. It is the best way of fighting smuggling and avoiding people risking and losing their lives.
Q. Question about migration. Do you think it is wise to use EU money to build a fence in Bulgaria?
Well, look. Borders have to be protected, but to protect the borders is not the only thing to do.
Migration is an important part of our foreign policy, and we have to deal with countries [of] origin, [of] transit, going to the root causes, doing partnerships, opening lines for regular migration. It is not just building walls.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-237189