High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell did not rule out that Russian president Vladimir Putin will try to exacerbate the problem of illegal migration to the European Union.
Josep Borrell stated this in an interview with The Guardian. When asked whether he believes Russia will try to fan the flames of migration, Borrell said: “Putin will try everything.”
“Putin believes that democracies are weak, fragile, they are tired, and time is on his side because sooner or later we will run out of steam. And this is as much a political battle as a military one. It needs to be explained in a reasoned way. Of course, no one likes paying more for electricity. I believe in democracy as a pedagogical exercise, and I believe that people understand the reasons,” the European diplomat said.
At the same time, he acknowledged that Europe faced a difficult choice in curbing migration by signing agreements with countries such as Tunisia, noting that it was his duty to protect not only European values but also European interests.
Borrell stressed that Russia’s war against Ukraine does not cause migration from Africa.
“The main reasons for migration in Africa are the lack of development, economic growth and poor governance,” he added.
Since the spring of 2023, the Italian island of Lampedusa has become the primary “gateway to Europe” for people trying to get to the EU from Africa due to the island’s proximity to the coast of Tunisia. Recently, thousands of migrants have been arriving in Lampedusa every day.
Due to the worsening situation, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, visited the island and announced a ten-step plan to resolve the migration crisis.
The Italian prime minister said that “the future of Europe is at stake in the migration crisis”.