Wednesday

19th Sep 2018

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 promotes 'Egypt model' to reduce migrant numbers

EU council president Donald Tusk wants to discuss deepening relations with authoritarian Egypt, as a model of migrant reduction, with EU heads of state and government at a meeting in Salzburg, Austria on Wednesday.

Analysis

EU to shore up borders, returns and migrant detentions

The European Commission wants more border controls, detentions and returns for rejected asylum seekers. The harsh tone is part of a broader anti-migrant mood. "We are treated like rats," one asylum seeker stuck on a Greek island told this website.

Visual Data

Europeans also seek EU asylum

Every year, almost 100,000 Europeans seek asylum in EU countries. The number of applications continues to grow, but the issue remains on the margins of political debate.

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