Friday

23rd Oct 2020

Luxembourg: 'False nationalism can lead to war' in Europe

  • 'The European Union can break apart. That can happen incredibly fast', said Jean Asselborn (Photo: wfbakker2)

The migration crisis facing Europe could lead to the collapse of the European Union and even to war, the bloc's longest-running foreign minister said in an interview published Monday (9 November).

Jean Asselborn, foreign minister of Luxembourg since 2004, told German press agency DPA that the core EU element of borderless travel, agreed in the Luxembourg city of Schengen in 1985, is under threat.

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  • Foreign minister Jean Asselborn (l) in 2008 with then prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker. (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

“We have maybe only several months time left [to save it]," he said.

“The European Union can break apart. That can happen incredibly fast, when isolation instead of solidarity, both inwards and outwards, becomes the rule.”

Asselborn is not the first European politician to warn of a break-up.

Slovenian prime minister Miro Cerar said last month he believed the EU would “fall apart” if no solution is found to slow down the influx of refugees and migrants.

But with Luxembourg holding the six-month rotating presidency of EU and counting itself among the bloc's six founding states, its words carry extra weight.

The Grand Duchy's centre-left minister criticised politicians who use fear of migration as a way to appeal to voters, saying there are in the EU “some who have not truly internalised the value of the European Union, which is not only material value."

“The glue that holds us together is still the culture of human values. And this false nationalism can lead to a real war," noted Asselborn.

He didn't speak of how war could break out, but, like Germany's Angela Merkel in recent days, he expressed worry about rising tension in the Western Balkans - the main migratory route.

"When the lid is shut in Sweden and Germany, then I do not know what will happen in the Balkans", said Asselborn.

"I believe that there is already a very, very critical situation."

The migration crisis will be on top of the agenda in Brussels again this week, as interior ministers meet Monday to discuss relocations of migrants.

EU leaders are also meeting with African heads of state in Malta on Wednesday (11 November) and holding a separate, EU-only summit in Valletta the following day.

Agenda

Migration and Turkey top agenda This WEEK

EU leaders to hold two summits on migration as winter approaches, with a Turkey deal key to slowing arrivals. UK also expected to unveil wish list for EU reforms.

Centre-right leaders close ranks on migration

EPP leaders made a concerted effort to demonstrate unity by sharing a tougher stance on border security at a congress in Madrid designed to support Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy.

EU seeks political accord on migration this year

The German EU presidency is striving to sort a political agreement on the migration and asylum pact before the end of the year. In reality, it means two months when factoring Christmas holidays.

News in Brief

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Analysis

'Sponsored returns' may shuffle failed asylum seekers around EU

The European Commission is banking on cooperation and coordination among EU states to help makes its new migration and asylum pact viable. But its plan is already being greeted with suspicion by more hardline anti-migrant countries like Austria and Hungary.

Analysis

Between the lines, Europe's new Moria unfolds

A new five-day screening of migrants at Europe's external borders is meant to expedite people into either 'asylum' or 'return' tracks. The time-limit is wishful thinking and one that could leave people stranded in make-shift camps or even ghettos.

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