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Debates
Wednesday, 17 April 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

European Border and Coast Guard (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Cecilia Wikström (ALDE). – Mr President, first of all, warm congratulations to my colleague Roberta Metsola for her outstanding work on this. Thanks for all the good cooperation we have enjoyed throughout these years. Thanks also to the Commissioner for this excellent proposal.

When I fly over Europe, I see no borders. These words were attributed to the first president of the free Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel, and the great success of European integration: the removal of the internal borders rests on having strong external borders. Let me be very clear. It’s not about building a fortress Europe. It’s not about turning away people, it is primarily about exercising control over the flows of people going in and out of the Union. It’s about making sure that we conduct proper screening, security checks and process in an orderly manner all those who arrive here seeking international protection.

Proper border protection is also crucial to fight the influx of counterfeit products, narcotics, weapons and other items and substances that we do not want in the European Union. The report we are adopting today does not go towards a fully federalised competence. In my view, that is the way forward, but this is a very important step in the right direction.

And allow me – I have been a Member here for 10 years and this is one of my last speeches in plenary after the 10 years – to thank every colleague and everybody that I worked with and remember that where politics ends, friendship remains and to make an end is also a chance to make a new beginning.

(Applause)

 
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