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European Union leaders adopt joint migration strategy

December 21st, 2015

Conservative analysts suspect that the decisions adopted by the European Council on Friday will prove insufficient as crisis management tools. They believe that Europe is still reluctant to take resolute action in order to avert what they regard as a looming catastrophe.

In Magyar Nemzet, István Pataky accuses European leaders of only going so far to soothe a European public which is growing increasingly irritated by the migration problem. It is unclear, he writes, how the Union will protect its outer borders if the member country concerned does not cooperate. Decisions on how exactly Frontex, the common border security structure will be reorganised, have been put off to the Dutch presidency in the first half of next year. For now, it looks as though Mrs Merkel’s promise to reduce the flow of migrants will be kept only to the extent that Greece and Turkey are willing or able to fulfil it, he thinks.

In Demokrata, Péter Farkas Zárug fears that the European Union is swapping the migration problem for the bleak prospect of opening its gates to 75 million Turkish citizens. He admits that Turkey must be supported in its efforts to host displaced Syrians, and calls the attitude of the rest of the world pathetic and egoistic. Instead of increasing their contribution, they actually halved the financial support given to Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Turkey did warn them that its position was untenable and only after that warning went unheeded did it unleash the uncontrolled flow of migrants onto Europe. In November European leaders promised free entry to the EU for Turkish citizens in exchange for stricter Turkish border controls, although given the flourishing forged passport industry in Turkey, anyone can become a Turkish citizen on paper in a matter of hours, he suggests. On top of all this, Europe is also promising Turkey that it will accelerate its accession to the Union at a time when the Turkish political system is further from satisfying the democratic entry criteria than it was when those talks were practically shelved. Zárug believes that opening Europe’s borders to Turkish citizens opens dire ‘civilizational dangers’, while letting Turkey into the European Union would mean the end of the union as we know it. Suffice to cast a glance at what he calls the ‘parallel societies’ of Muslim immigrants in France, Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands.

On Mandiner, Balázs Orbán, the director of the Budapest Migration Research Institute also believes that Europe should adopt a much more resolute attitude towards uncontrolled migration if it wants to avert the degradation of European integration. He suggests that Europe should stop attracting ‘spontaneous’ migrants. Until now they had absolutely no other hope of ever reaching Europe than by ‘storming’ it. European leaders tend to believe that their attitude has been humane, but in reality they stimulated hundreds of thousands of people to risk their lives and travel several thousand kilometres mainly on foot, instead of applying for asylum or immigrant status. Meanwhile Europe disregarded the plight of those millions who didn’t have the means to pay human traffickers in order to make it to Europe’s most developed countries. By now it is obvious that the sheer number of refugees is a threat to the basic right of free and unhindered movement of European citizens, since key member countries understandably reintroduced border controls. Orbán suspects that the next victim will be the free movement of manpower, another basic element of European integration. The insertion of the newcomers into the labour market will obviously make it necessary to keep applicants from other member countries out. Great Britain is already seeking ways to limit the inflow of  foreign workforce and will probably enact limitations, whether as a result of an agreement with the European Union or of a Brexit referendum. Further steps of disintegration might include cuts in cohesion funds, as is often mentioned lately in warnings addressed to “unruly” east-central European member states. The only solution Orbán sees is to let potential migrants know that anyone entering the European Union illegally will be deported. So-called hot spots, or vetting centres should be established outside the European Union in order to enable member states to host only those they choose to grant asylum or residence to. He finds this solution simple but fears that European leaders “might not see the wood for the trees.”


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