Europe's Leaders 'Want to Preserve the Status Quo,' the EU Can't Defend Itself

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Maintaining security amid the threat of terrorism remains high on the agenda of the leaders of the EU countries, Creomar de Souza, an expert on international affairs from the Catholic University of Brasilia told 

"When focusing on the issue, it is important to draw attention to why [security threats have] re-emerged…to the point that [US President] Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed that the United States will reduce its efforts to maintain security in Europe," according to him.

"Talking about Europe's inability to ensure its own safety all by itself is no exaggeration. The problem is that if Europe starts to deal with this task on its own, the sums currently allocated for projects related to social policy and international cooperation will be injected in the defense sector," he said.

Souza added that this, in turn, indicates another issue pertaining to the fact that currently, there is a serious problem in Western Europe in terms of terrorism and enmity [by some Western countries] towards Moscow. 

"It adds to the uncertainty about Europe's future without NATO or the United States. It seems to me that if we could ask the European leaders about their greatest desire, they would have said that they want to preserve the status quo," he said.

Souza underscored that it is terrorism that poses "the main military threat to the European Union's security today, if you do not take into account the traditional spectrum of international relations."

"In a sense, it is religious terrorism and contradictions related to the integration of the immigrant element in European society which represents a major threat for Europeans," he pointed out.

Late last month, Belgian RTL radio reported that Belgium, the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom had reached an agreement on establishing a joint database of passengers traveling by international train, in an effort to counter possible terror threats.

The radio added that the states intend to create a working group, together with the representatives of European high-speed train operators Eurostar and Thalys, on proposals for a database for passengers travelling between the four countries.

Also last month, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the European Union will face another wave of migrants coming from Africa across the Mediterranean next spring, unless agreements like the deal with Turkey are made with the countries of northern Africa.

In March 2016, the leaders of the EU and Ankara agreed on a comprehensive plan that opened a legal route to the European Union for Syrian refugees while reducing irregular migration.

The plan finalized the one-for-one principle, according to which all new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey into the Greek islands were to be returned to Turkey, and for every Syrian returned to Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian was to be resettled from Turkey to the bloc.

The European Union has been struggling to manage a massive refugee crisis which escalated in 2015, with hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East and North Africa seeking asylum in the EU member states.

The EU border agency Frontex detected over 1.83 million illegal border crossings in 2015, compared to some 283,000 in 2014.