The entire European Union has to work together to protect its outer borders and not act as individuals, European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova told the the Czech public TV on Tuesday.
She said everyone has to defend the Schengen area and freedom of movement together because without the Frontext border service the borders can only be protected “with a fence” as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has done.
“Orban has built a fence but (Italian Internal Affairs Minister Matteo) Salvini can’t do that. Italy, Greece, Spain, that border at sea has a much more demanding security regime. We cannot allow ourselves not to defend that border, the more so since a wave of illegal migrants is coming from Africa who we have to send back,” the commissioner said.
Jourova said the European Commission wants to reinforce Frontex because of those southern borders. “It’s in the interest of all countries to have a system in place which they can all rely on. Imagine if Orban defends his border and the Italians fail. If we want to maintain Schengen, and we do because that is one of the major achievements in Europe and we all benefit from it, there has to be a single system and everyone has to do the job that we agree on as a whole,” she said.
Frontex would be superfluous only if every individual EU member state put up fences on its border which is impossible to do at sea. “As long as the borders are open we have to secure the southern borders at sea,” she said.