Interior ministers call for controls at borders with Poland and the Czech Republic

Dresden/Potsdam (dpa) – The interior ministers of the German federal states of Brandenburg and Saxony are calling for the introduction of stationary controls at the borders with Poland and the Czech Republic in order to limit the unauthorised entry of refugees. Two Christian Democrats, Michael Stübgen and Armin Schuster, raised the demand in a letter to German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser ahead of a refugee summit planned for Wednesday. They referred to the border controls already in place in Bavaria, which they said were effective and correct.

On Wednesday, the German federal states will meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin to discuss the further financing of refugee costs.

According to the press release, Saxony’s Interior Minister Schuster said that “against the background of the comparable migration situation at the borders of Brandenburg with Poland as well as Saxony with Poland and the Czech Republic, we have jointly written to the Federal Minister of the Interior, asking for the temporary reintroduction of stationary internal border controls.”

His counterpart Stübgen said that “if we want to maintain freedom of movement in the Schengen area, we must prevent a loss of control at the German federal border. We therefore expect the federal government to immediately introduce stationary internal border controls and intensify its border protection measures.” He added that the mood of the population was increasingly threatening to tip.

Germany has been controlling the border with Austria in Bavaria since the autumn of 2015, after tens of thousands of refugees and other migrants made their way from Greece to Western Europe via the Balkan route. (7 May)

Spain will prioritise AI regulation during its EU presidency

Florence/Brussels (EFE) – The Spanish Vice-President and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, said that during the upcoming Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the regulation of artificial intelligence would be prioritised, given its rapid development in recent years. Calviño announced this during her speech at the “State of the Union” forum, held in the Italian city of Florence.

“As with all industrial revolutions, digitalisation is a lever for growth and prosperity, but it also brings about profound changes in the way we work, interact, inform ourselves and live. And in the functioning of our democracies as well,” Calviño said. According to her, the European Union is already “at the forefront of efforts to develop a regulatory framework for artificial intelligence (AI)”, which has sparked intense debate with the emergence of such advanced tools as ChatGPT.

The European Parliament expects to seal the “final agreement” on a proposed regulation on AI this month, with the aim of having the law ready by “the end of the year or early next year”, although it has not yet set out its position on the future of ChatGPT. (May 4)

Belgium and eight other states want to get rid of unanimity rule in European foreign policy

Berlin (Belga) – On Thursday, Belgium and eight other European Union member states launched an initiative to phase out the unanimity rule in defence and foreign policy. By doing so, they want to “improve the effectiveness and speed of our decision-making,” a joint statement said.

Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Luxembourg, Finland and Slovenia united on Thursday in a “Group of Friends”, pushing for more European foreign and security policy decisions to be taken by a qualified majority. That would no longer require all 27 but at least 15 member states to agree, provided they represent at least 65 per cent of the EU’s population.

Most decisions in the EU are taken by a qualified majority, but giving up the veto on foreign policy or security is a delicate debate that has been going on for years in European circles. Opponents, often smaller countries, fear they will be sidelined more quickly this way and will have less weight in decision-making.

The advocates, in turn, argue that the war in Ukraine and the geopolitical high tension in general refocus their arguments. “In the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and growing international challenges, the members of the group are convinced that European foreign policy needs adapted processes and procedures to strengthen the EU as a player in international politics,” they said.

The nine member states stress that they want to work closely with the European institutions and other member states and that their group is open to new members. They also assure that they want to improve decision-making “in a pragmatic way”, focusing on “concrete practical steps” and based on the current European treaties. Amending these treaties would require unanimity. (May 4)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Tuesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.