Several countries are increasing security at the borders

The Berlin Wall stretched over 155 kilometers. The wall separated East and West Berlin. That changed in 1989. Then the East German authorities opened up. It was after a period of crisis both economically and politically. People had held large protests.

The wall was erected in 1961. East and West Germany were reunited within a year.

– The optimism we had in Europe after 1989 is gone now, says Klaus Dodds. He is Professor of Geopolitics at the University of London.

– The Iron Curtain is gone. But a “carpet of barbed wire” is unfortunately on the way to becoming a reality in large parts of Europe, says Dodds.

The long border between Finland and Russia runs through dense forests. It is marked by wooden posts with low borders. The posts are to stop cows that have gone astray. A stronger and higher fence will soon be erected along parts of the border.

Polish soldiers began laying out rolls of barbed wire earlier this month. They posted it on the border with Kaliningrad. The area lies between Poland and Lithuania, but it is Russian. The soldiers will also install cameras and a system to monitor the area.

Before, the area was only occasionally guarded by border guards. Now the country is taking more measures. Similar things are happening around Europe. Several countries in the EU started building border fences in 2015. It was because refugees entered southern Europe from the Middle East and Africa.

Europe’s relationship with Belarus worsened after Alexandr Lukashenko became president in 2020. The EU did not approve the election results. They imposed sanctions on the country.

Then the government sent thousands of migrants across the EU’s borders. That is why Poland and Lithuania put up fences along the borders with Belarus. Several have again begun to strengthen their border security in fear of another migrant crisis.

Finland has plans to strengthen parts of the country’s border with Russia. Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Martin confirms this. The border is 1,340 kilometers long.

The fence provides little protection against military attacks. It is about preventing large groups of migrants from entering the country, explains Marin.

Russia has used migration as a weapon for several years, Professor Dodds believes.

– Russia bombed and terrorized Syria’s population in 2015. It was in an attempt to create a humanitarian crisis, he believes.

Migrants have created chaos in countries such as Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Therefore, the migrants have not been allowed to enter the country to seek asylum.

Poland erected a steel fence against Belarus last year. Around 1,800 migrants still managed to get into Poland. They ended up in a difficult situation in the forest. They struggled to get hold of food, water and medicine, according to the human rights group Minority Rights Group.

Dodds says he understands the urge to build walls. But he believes that they rarely work as they should. Often this leads to the migrants being pressured to undertake even more dangerous journeys, he says.

– Such walls and fences help to weaken empathy and compassion in society.

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