Zagreb, 1 September 2021 (Hina/MIA) — A debate of European leaders on Europe’s future at the Bled Strategic Forum on Wednesday turned into a debate focusing mostly on the issue of migrants, which has been causing divisions in the European Union.
The first panel at the 16th Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia was attended by European Council President Charles Michel, European Parliament President David Sassoli, the prime ministers of Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Greece and Croatia, Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, European Commissioner for Demography and Democracy Dubravka Šuica and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić.
Sassoli said that he was disappointed by the conclusions of a meeting held on Tuesday by EU ministers of the interior, who agreed that the EU should rely on Afghanistan’s neighbours to manage a possible new migrant wave.
He was opposed by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis who stressed that his country had been a victim of the EU’s policy in 2015, which he said must not happen again. Europe should learn from our mistakes and make it clear to smugglers that they cannot exploit human suffering again, he said.
Hungarian PM Viktor Orban recalled having been the first in 2015 to oppose the European concept of open borders which, he said, “can destroy Europe’s cultural identity.”
PM Plenković said that the discussion revealed how the EU felt today because there were different alliances within it.
“Some of us would be strict towards Turkey and some want to look for a solution for migrations with Turkey. There are also those who want to find new ways of cooperation with Russia and those who want to be strict towards it over Crimea… Some support EU enlargement and some can’t stand the mention of that topic,” Plenković said.
He also stressed that the EU was ignoring “the strategic loss of Great Britain.”