Europe’s borders have all but collapsed in the wake of the refugee crisis we are facing. Such is the scale of the exodus, even Theresa May has upped the ante on her rhetoric, seemingly jumping on the Eurosceptic bandwagon to criticise the way migration is handled in the EU.
At the recent EU summit, she warned the principle of free movement should only be used by EU migrants who already have a job lined up here.
This is yet another nail in the coffin for David Cameron’s promise he will reduce net migration to the tens of thousands. Of course, he never had a chance.
Recently released ONS figures show the number of foreign-born residents in Britain has surpassed 8 million. The figures also show — despite Cameron’s repeated promises; “no ifs, no buts” — net migration has risen to 330,000. Migration from Romania and Bulgaria had doubled compared to the year before last.
Talk of quotas makes great soundbites for the press, but in reality, they are completely redundant. As Fraser Nelson, who welcomed the Office of National Statistic figures as a sign of the success of Cameron’s economic policies, pointed out: “No EU member controls its own borders — and a net immigration target pretends otherwise. It is, and always has been, a giant con.”
Further afield, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on other EU countries to take in a greater share of asylum seekers; after it emerged Germany is already dealing with 300,000 refugees so far this year.
Yet unlike Britain, Germany and others have not opted out of the EU’s common asylum policy. Clearly, the issue is coming back to bite them.
While Cameron was under attack from EU leaders for supposedly not doing enough, it emerged Britain’s Syria contribution of £922 million is more than the rest of the EU combined. Having bowed down to EU pressure, Britain will now take 20,000 migrants during this parliamentary term.
Such stresses and strains are undermining the whole idea of European co-operation under the EU banner, as even Germany’s interior ministry said they would not rule out suspension of the Schengen Agreement.
Under the rules of free movement, EU residents are allowed to go anywhere they like in the Schengen Zone, without getting their passports checked. What needs to be highlighted is the severe under-reporting of Britain’s intake.
Firstly, news outlets are only using net figures, as the overall number of EU migrants last year is larger than Germany’s, coming to 618,000. Secondly, genuine asylum applications from Syria are being approved at a rate of 86 percent.
It is easy to see why Germany would want to welcome hundreds of thousands of refugees, as the country is facing a demographic crisis with an ageing workforce. In Germany’s case, a show of benevolence is hiding her real self-interest.
As remorseful EU leaders try and deal with the problem, the incompatibility of free movement and large flows of migration outside the EU is slowly being exposed.
As Merkel’s government strikes a deal with Italy to reactivate border controls between the two nations, the nations of Greece and Eastern Europe are being condemned in light of their reluctance to receive large numbers of refugees.
The crisis is reaching heightened levels of irony. Greece would have been able to cope better without the Eurozone Crisis crippling its economy, and Hungary are actually following the EU’s own rules in regards to refugee registration. With such hypocrisy coming from Merkel, is it any wonder the EU serves some better than others?
BBC figures show those using the Central Mediterranean route to reach Europe, are predominantly from Eritrea, Nigeria and other sub-Saharan countries.
While Nigeria is facing similar troubles as Syria, with an Islamist insurgency in the north of the country, most of the sub-Saharan countries the refugees are pouring from — like Eritrea — are not suffering civil war. People from there are fleeing despotic governments, or looking to improve their lives.
There is nothing wrong with that, of course, but as ‘economic migrants’, they should use the proper channels like everybody else.
What makes it difficult to have a fair system of migration is the EU’s principle of free movement. As such, adequate planning of resources and public services is impossible as numbers are always unforeseeable.
The UN’s suggestion the EU countries, including Britain, need to do more to take in refugees and establish official channels, is problematic to say the least. It makes it just as likely economic migrants will seek to get into Europe along with genuine asylum seekers, by exploiting the system.
It is incredibly hard to absorb the horrific images coming from Mediterranean. While the solidarity with refugees is certainly universal, the nature of the debate must not descend into knee jerk reactions, but tackle the root causes.
Britain has a clear history of taking in political refugees for centuries, but the current crisis is different in scale and nature.
Make no mistake, refugees all over the world are seeking safety in Western countries, and the EU cannot be blamed alone. However, its irresponsible core principle of no borders has undoubtedly exacerbated the problem.
It is completely irresponsible for the EU to absolve itself of any responsibility, and once again it fails to prove itself in a ‘finest hour’.
Being a Member State of the EU leaves a nation unable to plan its infrastructure, jobs and the integration of migrants. We must Get Britain Out.
This article was cross-posted in The Commentator