On September 14'th, there will be an emergency EU meeting meant to deal with the current immigration crisis. There will be many proposals put on the table, but the prevailing argument will be for a new push for an already failed solution, namely EU migrant quotas meant to fairly distribute the burden, while not addressing the exponential nature of the increase in the flow of asylum seekers. Those EU leaders who support this idea will present it as a must, in order to preserve the "spirit of the EU" as well as to save some of its cherished institutions, such as the Schengen agreement on free travel across borders.
The idea was already rejected once, when the flow of asylum seekers was relatively less intense than it is right now. Back then it called for the re-distribution of 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece, while in August alone Hungary intercepted 50,000 asylum seekers crossing the Southern border with Serbia. Many more arrived into Italy, Greece as well as other points of entry into the EU. It is clear therefore that any EU asylum seeker re-distribution plan will most likely involve a monthly allocation of migrants, which will be in the 50-100,000 range. EU officials such as Jean-Claude Junker are now proposing an initiative to re-locate 160,000 asylum seekers. But of course, any attempt to push such an agreement through will avoid spelling out the fact that it will not be a one-time event, but a regular occurrence. Nor will the supporters of such a scheme touch on the very sensitive subject of the vicious cycle aspect of this proposed solution.
Needless to say that among the tens of millions of people who are currently displaced by conflicts, therefore eligible to be considered for asylum, this will be received as a message of support towards further arrivals. The floodgates could really open up then, especially now that asylum seekers figured out that they can avoid the dangerous Mediterranean journey and they can travel across land, through the Balkan region. The ranks of the already numerous legitimate asylum seekers will be further swelled by those hoping to find a better life for themselves by pretending to be from a conflict zone. People arriving in Hungary are increasingly coming without any documentation. They mainly claim to be from Syria, but there is no way to verify it. Furthermore, there is an increasingly flourishing industry growing in Turkey, namely in the production and sale of fake Syrian passports. Given that anyone who speaks Arabic can potentially pretend to be Syrian, we are looking at a potential pool of hundreds of millions of people who can try to do this. In effect, the EU could end up taking in more "Syrians" then there were Syrian citizens to begin with.
Taking these factors into consideration, as well as the likely spread of violence across the Middle East and possibly in Africa, which will further exacerbate this crisis, there is the potential of having monthly re-allocation loads in the hundreds of thousands of people. It will be overwhelming. It will lead to financial and infrastructural stresses showing up all over Europe. Such a formidable inflow of migrants will also have the effect of causing a great deal of unease among the European population. We have to keep in mind that the EU is made up of largely homogeneous nation-states, made up of white ethnic groups, with a particular Christian religion being dominant in most countries. We should also be mindful of the fact that the current birth rate among Europeans is well-bellow natural replacement levels and most people in Europe are aware of this fact. Within this context, Europeans are already feeling uneasy about the current wave of migrants, because they see it as population replacement of the shrinking native population with a growing foreign population. An asylum seeker re-allocation program across the EU, which is likely to grow exponentially within a short period of time will give Europeans a sense of being under siege.
Regardless of whether one thinks that Europeans are right or not to feel this way, the reality is that the current situation is making a growing number of them feel this way, which is evidenced by the growing popularity of extreme right-leaning parties across Europe. The European electorate may see giving their support to these parties as a way to push back. We also see other, more direct forms of push-back gaining in frequency. We have seen anti-immigrant demonstrations, as well as acts of arson in places like Germany.
Source: European Commission.
The European elite is clearly acting against the will of most Europeans on this, as we can see from official surveys. While a majority of Europeans feels comfortable with immigration within the EU, only one third of people are feeling alright with taking in people from outside Europe. As things are likely to go very wrong, as long as EU elites refuse to change course, it should not be hard to understand that they are betting their credibility on this, and they are likely to lose it, which will have devastating effects. European leaders may argue that EU values are at stake here if the requests for legitimate asylum are not honored by the collective EU community. The continued viability of the EU is in fact what is at stake if this flow of refugees does not stop. Reality is that Europeans are being asked to accept something that no other country on earth would, simply due to its geographical proximity to the Middle East conflict zones. For instance, Canada, only takes in about 15,000 refugees per year, which it selects before they show up. If it were to be asked to take in as many refugees per capita as Germany is likely to take in this year, it would have to take in about 300,000 in order to match Germany's effort. Despite Canada's reputation as a country that is made up of immigrants and is open to taking in those who are different, due to its already multicultural profile, I doubt Canada's government could ever hope to convince its electorate that this is a good idea. Yet, this is what Europe's elite is attempting to do.
On September 14'th and leading up to it, many heavyweights of the EU leadership, together with a heavily liberal-leaning mainstream media will try to convince Europeans that the only way to deal with this crisis is to come up with an orderly disbursement of what is likely to continue to be an exponentially-growing wave of refugees. The fact that just a few months ago, Junker was pushing for a relocation quota of 40,000 asylum seekers, while now he is talking about 160,000 is an indication of just how quickly the problem intensified. As things stand right now some EU leaders are starting to organize an opposition to the plan. The Visegrad group made up of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Czech Republic are due to meet in order to form a united opposition to the quota plan. Needless to say however that if need be, these countries can be bullied into submission by the West European elites, who claim to be doing this in the name of their people, even though they clearly do not have their own electorate behind them on this issue.
If this move succeeds, it will at first seem like a viable solution as the migrant flow will be managed much better. The chaotic scenes out of Hungary will disappear as most arrivals will know that they will be dispersed throughout Europe and will be offered asylum. Those who will be allocated to the less affluent parts of the EU will grumble some, but in the end they will accept their fate. The Schengen agreement will appear to be intact at first and the border controls that are popping up all over Europe will disappear. Then, reality will set in. In August of this year, Hungary saw 50,000 refugees cross its border with Serbia, which was more than it received all of last year. If by August 2016, 500,000 will show up in a single month, what will the EU do then? Raise the monthly asylum seeker re-distribution quota to 500,000?
And how will the EU cope with the likelihood of fake refugees? And how will it cope with the likelihood that together with the flow of refugees, there will be possibly thousands of radical Islamist militants moving into Europe, undetected amid the sea of genuine and fake asylum seekers? How will EU authorities cope with waves of possibly coordinated attacks carried out by thousands of cells, which will cause the EU population to lose faith in their government's ability to fulfill their main obligation, which is to keep the population safe? Before dismissing this as nonsense, let us not forget that there is already evidence that groups such as ISIS identified the current flow of refugees into Europe as an opportunity to infiltrate the European continent. There is no way of knowing to what extent this may be already happening, or whether it is happening at all. One thing that is for certain is that even if there were currently hundreds or even thousands of sleeper cells with certain orders already set up across Europe, EU authorities are most likely unaware of it. They have no way of knowing about it, because the reality is that EU authorities have no way of knowing who most of the people who show up may or may not be.
Reality is that at this point EU elites are relying solely on the assumption that Islamic militant groups will simply forego the opportunity that the current situation presents in order for them to organize attacks against one of the main pillars of the current world order, which they claim to want to destroy in order to set up their Caliphate. I personally think that they would have to be fools not to take advantage of this opportunity, and I do not believe that they are fools. I think they are aware of just what a devastating effect a sustained campaign of terror would have on European society, which relies on a very sophisticated network of institutions in order to run smoothly and efficiently. It in fact takes what may seem very minor disruptions to bring down the normal flow of life in the EU. Failure of the EU elites to safeguard that sophisticated but fragile order might be their last failure. I don't think they will be given another opportunity to fail after this.
There is only one path that is viable here and that is for the EU elites to make a bold decision to suspend asylum offers for those who just show up. Come to think of it, it would not be such a bold decision in many ways, because after all, it is the solution that it seems the majority of the EU electorate would be the most likely to support. It is the solution that is most likely to end the tragic deaths that are occurring constantly. Recently, a campaign meant to push the EU and its members to take in more asylum seekers was launched, using the unfortunate tragedy of a little boy who drowned and washed up on the Turkish shore, as a means to claim the ethical high-ground.
This picture has been plastered all over the media, and has been sent to many people via petitions that are making the rounds, arguing that because of this tragedy European countries have a moral responsibility to offer people asylum, given the dangers they face in getting to Europe.
For myself, this is a picture that is especially hard to look at, given that I have a little boy of similar age. The first thing that I thought about when I saw this picture was in fact my little boy, who is today by coincidence also wearing blue shorts and a red T-shirt. I doubt there are many parents out there who will not think of their own children when seeing this image and be reminded how precious they are to us, therefore how precious all kids are, including the little boy whose family fled from the Syrian town of Kobani.
Those who are making use of this image in order to push for their ideological agenda however are in fact trying to manipulate, by suggesting that those who want to deny asylum to millions of people just like the little boy, are being mean and heartless. Fact is however, that putting a stop to asylum offers in the face of the growing tide of refugees would have most likely saved the little boy's life. Declaring an open border and a liberal asylum policy will in fact have the opposite effect and only encourage even more people to try to make the very dangerous journey. More children will die, just like the little boy did, and so will thousands of others who will join the thousands who already perished this year.
Refusing asylum for those who pay smugglers to enter Europe may seem heartless, but it is the solution that will end the growing human trafficking industry that is now flourishing in the region and is reported to be in fact partially connected to the same militants who caused this humanitarian disaster in the first place. This is the first step that needs to be taken in order to bring back some order in the region. The second step is to help countries bordering Syria cope with the refugee crisis. I personally find the concept of spending tens of billions of dollars per year on people who pay thousands of dollars to smugglers to get them to Europe, while tens of millions of people who do not have thousands of dollars to give to smugglers are not being adequately helped, to be an outrage. I also think it is an outrage that Israel currently occupies part of Syria, it exploits the resources of the land and colonizes it with Israelis, while Syrian refugees need to look for help elsewhere. The Golan should be evacuated by Israel as soon as possible and be made a NATO protectorate, where all Syrian refugees should be welcome to live on their own rightful land.
The next step of course, is to put an end to to the brutal militants who are responsible for this tragedy. Here the US bears more responsibility than anyone else, because it made the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, which unleashed the sequence of events that led to the current disaster. ISIS needs to go and a military solution needs to be found. But before that, we need to get the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia the EU and perhaps Iran in the same room in order to come to an agreement which will see these actors no longer pulling in different directions, but coming up with a formula to put an end to the fighting between factions in the region, which is being exploited by ISIS. All external players need to put their own strategic interests aside in order to stop fueling the conflicts that are tearing the place apart.
Now compare the list of the things that need to be done in order to deal with the crisis, with the intentions of the EU elites who will meet on September 14'th. If this does not look like failure of leadership, I don't know what does!