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The Pope condemns wall building

Saturday, November 19, 2016 22:34
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The Pope this year has made clear his dislike of border walls and fences. He has urged politicians to build bridges, not walls. He has never named individual countries or politicians that he has in mind.

Looking at what is going on, this has been a big past year for new wall and fence building. The main centre of this activity has been the European Union, along with Turkey acting with EU encouragement and money.

The EU has substantial border fences and walls. There are the fences around Melilla and Ceuta to prevent people entering Spain. There are now long fortifications of the Austrian borders with Slovenia and Hungary. There are fences and walls between Bulgaria and Turkey, Hungary and Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia, and Slovenia and Croatia. There is the large construction along the Macedonia/Greek border.

The EU as a whole is helping fund a huge border protection between Turkey and Syria. Along the 70 km stretch from Kilis to Karkamis a ten foot high wall is being added to the existing razor wire, and watch towers built. The West is helping with cash, surveillance balloons and anti tunnelling equipment. When the EU signed the Turkey/EU Association Agreement giving Turkish people more rights of movement into the Schengen area, one of the conditions was better border defences for Turkey along its Middle Eastern southern border.

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the Pope must have in mind the EU and those member states busily adding to their walls and fences, and assisting Turkey with its massive construction. If Mr Trump goes ahead with adding to the border fence the US already has along parts of its Mexican frontier, he will be adopting an EU policy which has been actively pursued over the last year.

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