The borders of migration

The EU is living in a situation that forces it to face those who want to leave (Brexit), those who want to enter (migrants), and populism that breaks through the polls

IT’S BEEN OVER A YEAR since the European Union debates about how to solve the cracks that threaten to blow up its project of a large European community: Brexit and Migration. Two lame legs on which tilts the weight of a Union whose foundations support an architecture of laws and regulations that do not finish building a human side in common to all of Europe. The leaders of the EU claim to be heirs of the best tradition of a universalist Europe, but within it grows the noise of voices of bigotry and xenophobia, contrary to their own existence. The EU is living in a situation that forces it to face those who want to leave (Brexit), those who want to enter (migrants), and populism that breaks through the polls. Cracks for a European Union submitted to the Ides of March.

In March 2019 the deadline for the definitive resolution of Brexit expires, and in March 2018 a new migratory crisis started. Thousands of people desperately calling at the door of the European Union, although in a smaller number than in the 2015 wave, as was emphasized by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, last October, when summarizing the decisions of the Council on migration: (…) «the number of illegal crossings of borders towards the EU detected has been reduced by 95% compared to the maximum figures reached in October 2015 …»

«… But some internal flows and some recent external flows require continued attention», were the conclusive words of the President of the European Council in a sort of euphemism to avoid the uncomfortable affirmation that the Union consensus in this area hardly go beyond the police measures In terms of migration, the EU lives installed in a permanent «Groundhog Day», with statements of principles that insist on the need to remedy the causes that generate irregular migration – «strengthening cooperation with countries of origin and of transit, especially of North Africa «, Donald Tusk emphasizes-, but that do not descend to the ground of facts: What cooperation, what plans to promote economic and social development in the countries that originated the migration? On the other hand, it is emphatic about the agreement to set up a European Center for the Fight against the Illicit Trafficking of Migrants. command of Europol, and this plan does have a file and date: it will start working next December.

Hot Spot of Lampedusa island
Coast Guard ship at the harbour of Lampedusa island, southern Italy, on October 9, 2015.

It seems clear that Security must be guaranteed in the EU, and that this involves intensifying and improving the mechanisms for combating networks that traffic with human beings, that is, it goes through the collaboration of the countries of origin and transit of migration. irregular, although in police matter, the information from the EU on captures and subsequent trials to slavers is conspicuous by its absence and favors that champ a quite generalized sensation that the traffickers always escape, do not face them, the bad guys are smarter What good ones? Neither is the information brilliant when the questions descend to the arena of development cooperation: What projects does the EU have in North Africa? What opportunities for the creation of employment and improvement of life favor? What financial statement? What monitoring is done of them?

Estrategia UE África – Europa RUPAnd the Africans, what do they say? It depends on the source we go to. We attend one of the voices critical of EU policies in Africa: the digital publication Mundo Negro. In December 2017, an Amnesty International Report («Libya’s dark web of collusion: abuses against europe-bound refugees and migrants«) was echoed, describing the cycle of «exploitation and abuse» to which migrant Libya. The report points to the «complicity» between guards in the detention camps (in Libya), smugglers and the Libyan Coast Guard. It speaks of systematic tortures as a measure of extortion to get money. And it highlights the existence of «slave markets» in those same detention centers where migrants are auctioned or sold to smugglers with the connivance of the Libyan Coast Guard. «The same Coast Guard trained and financed by Italy and the European Union,» concludes the Amnesty International Report.

The scandal over these facts denounced by the little suspicious Amnesty International, starred in the agenda of the V Summit African Union-European Union in November last year. Both sides pledged to work together «to put an end to the inhuman treatment suffered by migrants and refugees in the detention camps (Libya) and to prosecute those responsible for these crimes to make them available to the courts.» The Agreement compromised, In addition, the implementation of a Joint Operative Force (AU and the UN) to «save and protect the lives of migrants and refugees, accelerate voluntary returns and boost the resettlement of people in need of international protection.» The EU again deployed the Blue Helmets on the concretions board and assumed to enable cooperation projects without specifying the financial cards or dates on the calendar. The customary declaration of intentions that, nevertheless, worked the miracle of committing the African Union, – until then reticent to the migratory policies of the EU-, to repatriate 20,000 Africans held in detention camps in Libya, while pushing to Nigeria to take a step forward and repatriate, in a few weeks, three thousand of its nationals. Informative opacity returned to bear fruit.

A group of children taking a selfie, at the Refugee Aid Center in Šid, Serbia
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn and serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic visit at the Refugee Aid Center in Sid , Serbia , on Sept 25. 2015.

Little is known about other agreements of this Summit as the commitment to implement a mobility plan for students, workers and university professors within the African continent, or to open tabs in the European Erasmus program for the exchange of students between Africa and Europe … Silences that sow reasonable doubts and find a thread of continuity in the questions that the digital Black World leaves in the air when asked «What happens to those who return? Who helps them to start a new life after having pledged all their savings and those of their families to achieve the European dream? Will there be reintegration and settlement programs for them? Is the European Union really going to be involved in fighting against the deeper causes of this migration? »

Humanitarian organizations and NGOs like Save the Children, OMI, UNHCR or CEAR reveal in their Annual Reports of 2017 the incoherence between the declarations and the actions of the European Union, which while talking about arbitrating cooperation programs to alleviate the flow of irregular migrants, drastically restricts its Asylum and Refugee policy.

Europa Rup Solicitudes de Asilo – TablaMrs. Merkel long shadow

In order to better understand the European Union’s current policy on migration, it is necessary to situate it in 2015. In September of that year, with a Europe in full turmoil due to the refugee crisis, the Government of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, falters between the pressures of the right in the German Parliament that demands hard hand with the migrants, and the demand of the Social Democrats to attend to the foundational spirit of a Europe of solidarity. Chancellor Merkel makes a decision, – «for humanitarian reasons,» she said – that her opponents criticized as radical: she opened the borders of the country to the thousands of migrants stuck in the Budapest train station whom the Hungarian government prevented from pursuing trip to the center of the continent. More than 1,500,000 people requested asylum or refuge, mostly from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, and with some of them the Christian Democrat chancellor took selfies as soon as they set foot in Germany cheered by hundreds of followers of the savior Merkel . The photos left the Hungarian Government in a very bad place, which defended itself by claiming that it applied the new EU asylum rules. And he did not lack reason.

Merkel’s decision was, in fact, a European solution adopted at the Summit of Heads of State and Government three months before (June 2015), to save the stability of both the German Government and the European Union itself. Spain and Greece joined the agreement accepting that Germany would return migrants who had previously registered in their respective territories. What seemed like an agreement between Social Christians and Social Democrats to promote migrant reception policies and give the EU the humanitarian aspect that it is awarded, proved to be the beginning of a hardening of the Asylum policy that was to arrive a few months after the hand of Angela Merkel herself.

Dimitris Avramopoulos to Malta
People attend the funeral for migrants who lost their lives on 19 April 2015 while they were crossing the Mediterranean Sea, in Malta on April 23, 2015.

In 2016 the European Parliament approves, pushed by the German Chancellor, a package of measures to toughen the asylum and refuge legislation: family reunification of asylees and refugees is limited, specific centers are created to process asylum applications and do more fast returns, and expands the list of countries considered safe, including Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. The same countries referred to by the EU leaders when they speak of «development cooperation». Merkel was also the great promoter of the controversial agreement between the EU and Turkey in March 2016, according to which Turkey was committed to control its coasts to prevent ships chartered by traffickers bound for Greece and also assumed the reception of refugees Syrians The so-called Balkan route that the migrants made to Austria was terminated, then to go to Germany or Sweden.

2016 was a particularly stormy year for migration in Germany. Several incidents of a certain severity were carried out by refugees: an Afghan man breaks into a train in a Bavarian town with an ax in his hand; another Syrian refugee is arrested with a bomb in Ansbach (also Bavaria), and a Tunisian who had been denied asylum sows panic at a Christmas market in Münich … And above the self-styled Islamic State applauds the actions. The shadow of Islamist fundamentalism plans on the decision of the German chancellor.

A family sleeping in blankets from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at the Refugee Aid Center in Šid, Serbia
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn and serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic visit at the Refugee Aid Center in Sid , Serbia , on Sept 25. 2015.

A month later, in January 2017, Angela Merkel’s government approves the deportation of foreign migrants. It was the beginning of a new twist in the tightening of migratory policies that was to be translated immediately into the European Union. But Angela Merkel has always insisted, then and now, that migration «will be decisive in the destiny of the European Union», and warns about the necessary multilateral solution against unilateralism, «or nobody in the rest of the world, «he says,» will believe in the Europe values system».

EU Legislation on Migration

  • The Convention on the Application of the Schengen Agreement of 19 June 1990 â €
  • Directive 2001/55 / EC, of the Council, of July 20, 2001,
  • Regulation (EU) No. 439/2010, of the European Parliament and of the Council, of May 19, 2010.

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