Asked about barbed wire fences, President of the European Council Donald Tusk said: "I'm afraid that sometimes you need tougher measures if you, we want really to apply Schengen. Sorry but this is the reality."
Dobova (Slovenia) (AFP) - EU president Donald Tusk on Wednesday defended the use of barbed-wire fences against migrants, saying that securing the outer borders of Europe's passport-free Schengen area was a "pre-condition" to solving the refugee crisis.
"I'm convinced that... back to Schengen is a pre-condition for this European solution to the migration crisis," Tusk said in Slovenia as part of a multi-country tour ending in Turkey later this week.
Asked about barbed wire fences, Tusk said: "I'm afraid that sometimes you need tougher measures if you, we want really to apply Schengen. Sorry but this is the reality."
Schengen member Slovenia, which has built a fence along parts of its border with non-Schengen Croatia and limited the daily number of migrants entering to 580, is the "best example that a European comprehensive plan can really work," Tusk said.
He was speaking during a visit to a migrants reception centre in Dobova, Slovenia, a day after holding talks in Austria. Later on Wednesday he was in Croatia from where he was expected to move on to Macedonia.
On Thursday he is due in Athens and from there to Ankara to meet Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
The following day he will hold talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.
His regional tour is aimed at laying the groundwork for a summit in Brussels on Monday between the EU and Turkey on a deal which the EU hopes will go a long way to halting the flow of migrants into the bloc.
This agreement, struck in November, will see Turkey prevent migrants travelling to Greece in return for billions of euros in aid
and speeding up Ankara's EU membership bid. Accepted migrants would then be flown directly from Turkey to EU countries.