Thursday

20th Jun 2019

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.

Frontex transparency dispute goes to EU court

The General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg will next month hold a public hearing on the refusal by Frontex, the EU's border agency, to release documents concerning its border control and surveillance operation known as Triton.

EU mute on new Italian decree to fine NGO boats

In 2013, the European Commission declared ships that help migrants in distress would not face sanctions. Now - six years later - Italy's government endorses a decree to impose fines up to €50,000 for rescue boats docking in Italian ports.

Decision on migrant-returns hits parliament logjam

Home affairs ministers are set to endorse reforms for tougher EU return laws to send unwanted migrants home. But an absent lead MEP on the file and a wary EU parliament means their agreement may not amount to much.

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