The flow of refugees, fleeing the chaos created in the Middle East by the warmongers in the US and Western Europe, is drowning the European Union in melancholia and depression. As terrorist threats become more tangible with each day and with social tensions mounting, Europeans are feeling more insecure than they have in a long while. In 2015 Germany alone accommodated 1.1 million refugees according to the data provided by the German Minister of the Interior, which put Angela Merkel under extensive criticism. While European politicians are launching verbal assaults against each other, some political observers have started noting that this time the EU has got too much to handle.
However, as the French online journal La Croix notes, one shouldn’t forget that refugees aren’t seeking safe heaven in Europe exclusively, since there’s up to 9 million refugees currently residing in the countries that have a common border with Syria. In Lebanon alone refugees account for 20% of country’s population. In comparison, in 2014 a total of 600,000 people were seeking asylum in Europe, which roughly constitutes 0.1% of its population. It is a drop in the bucket for a force like the European Union, still it chooses to pursue an undignified (even criminal) migration policy.
It’s a general consensus that this year the EU will be able develop an effective migration policy, yet, experts tend to believe that it’s just wishful thinking at best. Analysts of the Latvian news portal nrv.lv state openly that no one doubts that migration goes hand in hand with terror. Therefore, Europe is desperately trying to respond to the new challenges to its internal security raised by the migration flows. Therefore, Latvian experts say, basic European values, such as democracy, freedom of speech, respect for human rights will not be the governing principles anymore in the new European Security Strategy. Everything will be determined by common interests, while journalists in jail and assaults on women would be but a minor concern.
The Middle Eastern wars will not go away, as well as smugglers that are profiting off people who flee their home countries in hopes of a better life in Europe. While one can safely assume that if the exodus of migrants remains at its current level, the political consequences would be grave for the European Union, especially for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany in general which will witness a gap between itself and its European partners growing deeper still.
The Washington Post predicts that the collapse of the EU can start in 2016: “Europe was pummeled by crises from start to finish in 2015, with terrorist attacks, bankruptcy brinkmanship and an unparalleled refugee influx combining to leave continental unity in tatters by year’s end. But instead of relief, 2016 could bring an unraveling.”
According to The Financial Times, today the general idea of the EU is truly unpopular in Europe, since it has been riddled with economic difficulties and political division, that stands in the way of accommodating a common policy that would allow to solve the refugee crisis.
On January 4, Germany announced that a common visa policy in the Schengen Area has been seriously endangered by the new border control measures introduced by Sweden and Denmark in a bid to contain new waves of migrants. Thus, Sweden has become the latest in a number of EU countries announcing the introduction of border controls, which challenges the idea of a “Europe without borders”, where a traveler can move freely between countries without any restrictions. One should recall that the German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer has recently labeled the freedom of movement within the EU an “important principle” and one of the greatest achievements of the union.
Numerous European experts believe that today’s exodus from the Middle East, North Africa and other war-torn regions has been brewing for a long time, therefore it was perfectly predictable and could have been handled. Yet, nationalists in Europe are taking advantage of the absence of a coordinated response by EU officials in an attempt to get an upper hand in their political struggle. Yet, the defining principles of European society are being purposefully disregarded by these nationalists, which can only lead to the disintegration of the EU.
According to the French media portal Atlantico, the fall of a united Europe is imminent since it has departed from its identifying principles, the principles that have been agreed on by all the members states. In particular, in the preamble to the Treaty on European Union respect to such concepts as freedom, human rights and the rule of law are defined as governing principles of the EU. However, in the second half of 2015 those principle have been repeatedly violated by EU authorities. For instance, on September 23, the European Council approved the plan by a majority vote of the European Commission on the resettling of 160,000 refugees, which violates the basic human right of these poor souls, unable to choose a country of future residence. In fact, once politicians start looking at refugees as goods that are to be transported, we can be convinced that the European Union is dead and gone. After all, people fleeing war and bitter poverty in the Middle East sought ways to reunite with their relatives, friends or acquaintances that are living in certain European states. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that refugees themselves are refusing to sign up for being moved to some other place. As of mid-December a total of 184 refugees agreed to be transported to a random European country, out of 160,000 planned by the European Council.
Another assault on human liberties and dignity was the agreement adopted on November 29, 2015 by the EU and Turkey. After all, the very composition of the discussions that preceded this agreement raise questions, since EU authorities failed to invite representatives of Jordan and Lebanon — the two states most strongly affected by the exodus of refugees from Iraq and Syria. The EU did only promise Turkey the whooping 3 billion transfer if it manages to reduce the flow of migrants to Europe, while paying no heed to Jordan and Lebanon who have been facing the refugee crisis on their own.
In addition, as noted by French experts, after signing the deal with Turkey, the European Union formally resumed the process of its accession to the union. However, this decision looks at least controversial, especially against the background of Turkey’s own recent assault on freedom of speech and human rights. The brutal repressions against the Kurdish minority goes pretty much unchecked by the international media. It is a well known fact that Turkey allows smugglers to benefit from the hardships of people fleeing wars and bitter poverty. Ankara did nothing to prevent those criminals, some of which are enjoying connections with the Turkish mafia, from earning 8 billion euros last year alone, since a million migrants transported at the average wage of 8,000 euros per person will surely give them that kind of money.
Thus, the actions that are being taken by Brussels show the obvious: it’s only concerned with the interests of its military circles, not people. Therefore, the collapse of Europe, is inevitable. When it will happen is only a matter of time, but is clear that it won’t keep us waiting for long. Cui bono? Washington is, as it has been repeatedly pointed out by numerous Western experts.
Martin Berger is a Czech-based freelance journalist and analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.