By William J. Furney
This week European Union leaders met to thrash out critical issues threatening the integrity of the 28-member bloc and apart from the ongoing disaster for the United Kingdom that is Brexit, nothing was more pressing than the continuing influx of people from north African nations into Europe via perilous Mediterranean Sea crossings.
Italy, under the new and populist government of Giuseppe Conte, doesn’t want boatloads of migrants landing on its shores and in recent weeks has been busy turning them away. Italy is a traditional destination for people-smugglers’ craft from African countries such as Libya, as it’s among the nearest places in Europe. They could set sail for various parts of Greece, which are closer still, but the economically challenged birthplace of democracy is not economic migrants’ destination of choice.
And money migrants is what many who make the risky crossings to Europe actually are — despite hand-wringing protestations from flaky writers in lefty media like Britain’s Guardian newspaper who insist on branding them all “refugees” and ridiculously declaring that it’s all Europe’s fault in the first place. It’s nonsense attitudes and fact-less claims like this that give such publications, and the Left in general, little credibility in the real world. You only have to look at the images of those arriving on boats and ships to see the vast majority are young, childless men who obviously are seeking a better life for themselves in Europe — the shimmering golden land brimming with all manner of juicy cash-for-nothing benefits that those back home could only dream of.
Conveniently, the would-be émigrés turn up with no supporting documentation to speak of. Many won’t have passports, or even have bothered to apply for one before embarking on the hazardous voyage to Europe and paying big sums to people-traffickers to get them there. No, they wouldn’t want anything as revealing as that, when they can entirely take advantage of soft-touch Europe and enter on the strained backs of real refugees fleeing conflict in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. For these poor people, everyone has compassion and is willing to help, but it’s the fake lot that are ruining it for everyone.
Rounding Them All Up
So what Mrs Merkel, Mr Macron and other EU leaders decided this week is that all the refugees streaming into Europe be housed in Australia-type detention centres. Mrs Merkel — who almost scored a political own-goal with her contentious open-door refugee policy that saw millions arrive in her country and that was based on her “everlasting” guilt over Germany’s Nazi past and whose chancellorship remains in peril because of it — said after the marathon talks in Brussels this week that Europe was now on the path to devising a common asylum policy.
“What we achieved here together is perhaps more than I had expected,” Europe’s de facto leader said. “We are not at the end of the road. I always said that we would never be able to agree a common European asylum system here. But the more we agree among ourselves, the closer we get to a possible European solution. I’m convinced of that.” And with EU members such as Austria and Hungary taking a ruthless stance with migrants, the latter preparing legislation to prosecute people who assist asylum-seekers, Mrs Merkel said nonetheless progress had been made among member states and collectively they had taken a “right step in the right direction”.
Hardline Australian governments were left with no option than to place arriving migrants into detention centres, as well as dispatching them to remote Pacific islands. Most have been arriving on rickety boats from Indonesia, the staging point for people-smugglers ferrying distressed folk from war-ravaged places like Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere to get into Australia. But many said Australia’s policy towards migrants was cruel, unnecessary and not a deterrent.
The proposed detention-centre plan in Europe may not, however, even come to fruition. Almost as soon as the scheme was proposed, it dissolved into disarray, because some countries shied away from agreeing to to host such centres while other flat-out refused. And then came another idea: vague “disembarkation platforms” somewhere off north Africa that would be used to try and stop migrants heading to Europe. All this as 100 people believed to be heading for Europe were feared drowned after their boat capsized off Libya.
So far this year the number of people killed crossing the Mediterranean en route from north Africa to Europe is just under 1,000, compared to over 2,200 last year and almost 3,000 in 2016, according to the International Organisation for Migration, which is affiliated with the United Nations. And the number of people trying to get into the EU and claim asylum has been plummeting this year — with first-time applicants down 25 percent in the first three months of 2018 compared to the same period last year, EU figures show. (Turkey is no longer a route for migrants trying to get to Europe, entering via Greece, as Mrs Merkel has been showering Ankara with cash to block its EU-sided borders to such efforts, and at the EU summit this she week promised more funds.)
EU Migrant Integration?
The question everyone wants to know is will all of these millions of newcomers to European shores integrate into our societies and contribute towards the greater good? While on the face of it, it would appear they don’t — that they stay in their own small but growing communities and keep to each other. Most, if not all, are from Muslim countries, let us not forget, and so there’s a good chance you won’t be seeing them down the pub at 6pm on a Saturday evening, if at all.
The EU, however, is at least optimistic . “Migrants actively contribute to the economic, social and cultural development of European societies. Their successful integration into society in the host country is the key to maximising the opportunities of legal migration and making the most of the contributions that immigration can make to EU development. Although member states are primarily responsible for integration, the EU is supporting national and local policies with policy coordination, exchange of knowledge and financial resources,” it says.
The other question on many native Europeans’ minds is this: Why not flee or economically migrate to a country that has the same Islamic culture as your own? An incredibly wealthy place in the Middle East — say, Saudi Arabia? — and a lot closer to home. There, they would have so much more in common with their hosts and it would be a breeze integrating into a life that resolves around prayer and the mosque. Islam is not exactly a fit for western liberal values. Ask an average Muslim what their view on gay marriage is, for instance, and you’ll likely know they answer before they give it (if they’re being honest and not just saying something politically correct to benefit their newfound brethren).
But they’re not going to Saudi Arabia or Qatar or anywhere else in the Muslim world. And, peculiarly, when the migrant crisis reached fever pitch in recent times and this sort of question popped up, Riyadh responded by offering to build as many as 200 mosques for migrants in Germany. The Islamification of Europe indeed.
In the United States, President Trump is going overboard in separating migrant children from their parents, but it’s working. Comments from families in Mexico considering breaching the border and illegally entering the US show this is the case — some have said they wouldn’t now risk it due to their fears of being split from their children. In Europe, our leaders are finally starting to wake up to the threat to our societies and civilization, and wising up.