Remarks by President Donald Tusk ahead of the European Council meeting

As I have emphasized for many months, in fact from the very beginning of the migration crisis, there is no good alternative to border protection. And this is why I welcome with great satisfaction the European Commission’s proposal of strengthening our external borders, because in fact border control is a conditio sine qua non of each and every migration policy.

Border protection is and should be in the first place the domain of national states. This is why we have to analyse the most controversial idea of the European Border Guard entering the territory of sovereign states.

But Europe cannot remain vulnerable when Schengen states are not able to effectively protect their borders. If we reject the Commission’s proposal, we will have to find another, but I’m afraid, an equally painful solution.

Also crucial is of course the UK issue. The consultations I have led with all Member States show good will of all the parties involved, but it doesn’t change the fact that some parts of the British proposal seem unacceptable. However, if Prime Minister Cameron persuades leaders tonight that we can work together to find solutions regarding all four baskets, then we will have a real chance to strike a deal in February.

And finally, on EMU. Even if Europe is overwhelmed by the migration crisis today, we cannot afford to wait with the necessary reforms for better days. This summit should make clear whether Member States are ready to take difficult decisions on the Banking Union and economic governance.