The Speaker
Wednesday, 17 July 2024 – 21:29

European Unity? – How the European Union has been disintegrated by the migrant crisis

NOTE: This is an opinion article – any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Speaker or any members of its team.

Due to the lack of reasonable solution to the large numbers of people illegally arriving in the EU, the European Commission has recently introduced another way of dealing with the crisis: we will pay you if you take people in, we will refer you to the European Court of Justice to impose heavy fines on you if you do not let migrants in your country.

The political turmoil across the European nations has left Brussels to recompense countries for accepting asylum seekers. To be specific, 6,000 euros (£5,338) per refugee. The European Commission believes it is a method to attract more countries to shelter refugees under their wings or, at least, compensate the costs of taking migrants in.

If 6,000 euros compensation encourages any country to accept a refugee, then it leaves a lot to be desired. Who is to value human life? No one has the right to decide whether those people have the right to live or die. The statistics never represent the true tragedy of migrants and their families and the EU is already in no bargaining position when all the numbers concerning the death toll come out.

Despite declining numbers of asylum seekers entering the EU’s borders, the refugee crisis is still the top concern of the European citizens and the major cause of disagreement between the European countries.

How is the plan supposed to be working? Disembarkation platforms are to be set up in frontline countries to establish whether arriving people are economic migrants or actual asylum seekers. The former will be sent away and the latter will be placed in the so-called “controlled centres” in volunteer member states. This strategy seems pretty simple and, yet, the problem arises straightaway – no single country has agreed to host those centres. Brussels will support volunteer countries financially to set up the centres and, on top of that, cover the cost of relocating migrants from disembarkation platforms in the amount of €6,000.

The reality, however, looks completely different – it is another failed step in order to take any responsibility of relocating people within the borders of the EU. Germany and Italy are under increasing pressure to guarantee fewer migrants will be taken in their territory. The Eastern European countries are opposing taking anyone in, regardless.

The shifting public opinion in member states puts the EU in a corner. Since Ms Merkel lost to the far right in the 2017 election and agreed to limit the number of asylum seekers to 200,000 a year, Germany has ceased to act as a bastion of refugees’ security.

The EU is no longer a place of solidarity – the political overturn in Italy has forced Spain to become the largest gateway for migrants. The technocratic government believes that the situation is too critical and has to be dealt with by not letting anyone enter the country. Those who suffer in inhumane conditions, fleeing war and prosecution are turned away by the inconsiderate governments that are more concern about their own benefit, spreading populist plans and mindset in the name of protection of the European culture and heritage, than the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Not to mention the fact that the EU is taking in only a small share of asylum seekers, while Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan are the top biggest migrants destinations. 

Poland, Czechia and Hungary are also already under the ECJ observation to decide whether they will face heavy fines for not accepting refugees as per agreed quotas back in 2015. Despite the fact that there are still more nations that accept asylum seekers and persistently pursue relocation practices, the opposing bloc is gaining stronger voice and power.

The response to the problem is obviously not straightforward. Compassion and responsibility for the crisis in Africa and the Middle East and, on the other hand, letting a few ‘bad apples’ enter the borders of the EU are very problematic and must be dealt with incredible sensibility. This, however, cannot be resolved by the ridiculous proposal of giving money away to whoever decides to provide facilities to the refugees. It is a matter of sympathy to those who escape war and seek better life and security in the Western democracies. We, as wealthy and developed nations, should welcome those who suffer to improve their lives, particularly, after our own experiences during World War II.

What we are certain about is that the EU is in the state of modus vivendi. At this point, the European nations agree to disagree regarding the numbers of illegal migrants entering the borders of the Union and relocation practices. Unfortunately, this does not seem to change any time soon.










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