On 20 December, the pro-Kremlin Georgian website Alt-Info published an article claiming that the European Union had proposed that its member states erect fences along their borders to fight against illegal immigration. The article claimed Manfred Weber, head of the “European People’s Party,” the leading faction in the European Parliament, had stated this decision in an interview with Funke. Alt-Info cites the Belorussian media source Брестский вестник, which uses the same headline. The claim was also shared on social media.
The disseminated information is partly false. While Weber has made numerous anti-immigrant statements, the EU has stated previously that they will not fund the building of walls.
The headline used by these sources claims the EU has proposed the building of fences at borders to combat illegal migration. Though they then mention in the text that the idea belongs to Weber, it is misleading to make the headline place this proposal on the EU entity itself rather than one MP.
According to Welt, Weber told the Funke media group that controls at the external borders at sea and on land should be strengthened to avoid a new migration crisis. “If necessary, fences must also be built, for example in the south-east of the EU, in order to be able to control the arriving migrants as completely as possible,” Weber said. In the interview, Weber stated that the EU should support the financing of these border installations. However, these were just statements made by an EU politician, not an actual policy proposal.
Weber has previously made a number of anti-immigration statements, specifically calling for the EU to fund the building of border fences. In 2015, Weber told the press that more fences were needed to protect Europe’s borders. In 2021, he backed an appeal by 12 countries — including Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia— calling for EU funds to finance walls along their borders. In response, a European Commission spokesman stated that the EU has long maintained that it will not offer funds for barbed wire and barriers at its borders.
According to the official EU Press material from the Commission Spokesperson’s Service on future EU funding for borders and migration, the Commission will not finance the construction of fences. “The Commission’s work is aimed at ensuring proper control of borders, not closing them. The Commission has never financed fences and will not do so under the new EU budget either.”
Erasmus CEERES Master’s student, Intern at Myth Detector
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