Europe’s new walls

Brussels is awarding more and more contracts for the expansion of Fortress Europe. The new commercial wall is dressed up as a “fight against tugboats” and “securing the external borders”.

Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe once again makes splendid deals with the construction of the Wall and new forms of isolation.

Above all arms companies such as Thales, Airbus and Leonardo profit from contracts worth millions, which are also awarded by the EU and its member states.

This is the result of a study that will be published on Tuesday. It is published by the globalisation-critical network “Transnational Institute”, the Dutch campaign against the arms trade (Stop Wapenhandel) and the Spanish peace research institute Centre Delàs.

Unlike 30 years ago, the new walls no longer serve to seal off the Eastern bloc. Rather, it is about stopping refugees and migrant workers on their way to the EU.

The walls are also no longer made of concrete and barbed wire. Helicopters, drones and ships seal off the borders without a shot being fired.

In total, new border fortifications with a total length of around 1000 kilometres have been built since 1990, according to the study “The Business of Building Walls”.

This corresponds to six times the length of the Berlin Wall. If the “maritime” border in the Mediterranean is added, the new walls would even be 4750 kilometers longer.

But Brussels takes a completely different view. There can be no talk of building a wall, certainly not of EU funding.

When Hungary’s head of government Viktor Orban demanded in 2018 that the EU should share in the costs of “its” wall, since it also protects Europe, he made a rebuff in Brussels. The EU did not want to pay.

The situation is quite different when industry applies for contracts. Then EU funds can flow – if there is only the right funding pot.

And according to the authors, who refer to official EU data, this is increasingly the case. Since the refugee crisis of 2015, subsidies have been massively increased.

“Through successful lobbying, the European military and security industry has succeeded in presenting migration as a security threat rather than a humanitarian challenge,” says study author Mark Akkerman.

This has triggered a “seemingly endless flow of public funds for the militarisation of borders”.

With the new “geopolitical” EU Commission, this lucrative source should not dry up so quickly…

Translated with