EU responds to terror fallout by eroding borderless Europe and molesting the refugees

From left to right: Christiane Taubira, French Minister for Justice, Bernard Cazeneuve, French Minister for the Interior, Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg Minister of Internal Security, Felix Braz, Luxembourg Minister for Justice, Dimitrios Avramopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Vera Jourova, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. (EC Audiovisual Services, Shoot location: Brussels – Belgium, Shoot date: 20/11/2015, Copyright: The European Union).

From left to right: Christiane Taubira, French Minister for Justice, Bernard Cazeneuve, French Minister for the Interior, Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg Minister of Internal Security, Felix Braz, Luxembourg Minister for Justice, Dimitrios Avramopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Vera Jourova, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. (EC Audiovisual Services, Shoot location: Brussels – Belgium, Shoot date: 20/11/2015, Copyright: The European Union).

The very title of the Press release which the extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council of the European Union issued after its 20 November meeting, is quite indicative of the multiple fractures that the Union suffers after the terrorist attacks, which took place in Paris on 13 November 2015. The title reads as follows: “Conclusions of the Council of the EU and of the Member States meeting within the Council on Counter-Terrorism“. For the unsuspecting reader this is a completely incomprehensible phrase. Obviously it means that there was a meeting within the…meeting, but what kind of EU Council was that, having a hidden group within it, like a Russian matryoshka doll?

Understandably, the meeting within the meeting involved the EU member states which participate in the ‘Schengen Agreement’, a landmark European achievement, which created a huge borderless area in the Old Continent. Again, the unsuspecting reader should have known that there are EU member states which do not participate in this pact (Britain and Ireland chose not to, while Bulgaria and Romania applied but were rejected). There are also other European countries, non EU members, which participate in it (Norway and Iceland).

Out goes Schengen

If the informed reader though pushes aside the usual Brussels verbalism, what is left of the “Conclusions of the Council of the EU and of the Member States meeting within the Council on Counter-Terrorism”, is that the ‘Schengen Agreement’ may be considered as a thing of the past. Mind you, this Agreement, which created Europe’s borderless space, is the most tangible attainment of the entire EU project that the unsuspecting Europeans can see before their eyes, because it makes their everyday lives easier. The average European enjoys going about the Schengen space for business or pleasure, without been obliged to hold a passport or have their suitcases inspected by customs officers.

Last week, during this matryoshka EU Council, the 24 EU member states which participate in the ‘Schengen Area’ decided that the constitutional part of this treaty, the ‘Borders Code’, has to change. As expected, in view of the unseen before terror predicament which sweeps mainland Europe, Schengen won’t be a freer space. It would rather change for the worse, introducing again some kind of border controls and checks for everybody. The details will be decided before the end of the year.

Blame the refugees

Unfortunately, despite the official Brussels statements that the terrorism mess should not be related to the refugee problem, the most pertinent EU body, the Home Affairs Council decided that it does. It is as if Europe bends before the most inward looking and xenophobic political forces. Prominent amongst them are the extreme right political parties, which have taken to the rooftops against the immigrants after the Paris tragedy. The populist extreme right wingers ‘sell’ the readymade idea, that the thousands of the destitute refugees are to blame for the terror which engulfs Europe.

Of course those extreme rightwing political formations overlook the fact that the terrorists’ hand is armed by the complete political, economic and social annihilation of entire geographical regions in the Middle East and beyond in Asia and in large parts of north and central Africa. In reality the same anti-refugee sentiment prevails in the Brussels structures, despite the official pledges that terror and immigration are two distinct and separate issues. If the EU decision makers believed that, then why did last week’s Home Affairs Council actually decide to block the refugee flows?

Fighting terrorism in EU’s borders

In reality, this is exactly what the EU home Affairs and Justice Ministers did on 20 November, in order to confront terrorism. Their core decision was to “strengthen the control at the external borders which are most exposed, in particular by deploying, when the situation so requires, rapid border intervention teams (RABITs) and police officers in order to ensure systematic screening and security checks…and… update the Frontex Regulation, a solid legal basis for the contribution of Frontex to the fight against terrorism and organized crime”.

As for the swift revision of the ‘Schengen Borders Code’, it may soon institutionalize the internal borders controls and checks that some EU member states have now provisionally introduced. In short, the terrorism issue is being confronted by the EU and the national authorities through extra measures to stem, if not stop, the refugee flows. Not to say anything about the militarization and the de-democratization of everyday life in the big European cities.

Pressing the Balkans again

Presently Germany, France and many more EU countries have closed their borders. With a ‘back to back’ effect the pressure is now being transmitted to Greece and Italy, the two countries the refugees choose to target as their first step, in order to enter the European Union. With core EU countries having now practically blocked the entry of refuges, the pressure is transmitted to the Balkan corridor countries.

Serbia announced that it now let pass refugees holding only Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi passports, turning everybody else back to Greece including people without identification papers. This arrangement may soon be extended to refugees holding passports of those three countries. Already there is a deadlock in the northern Greek borders where thousands of refugees are blocked not being able to continue their trip to where they want to go, which is mainly Germany.

If all that does not constitute solid evidence of a Europe having suffered multiple fractures after the Paris tragedy, then words have lost their meaning. It’s also evident that the Brussels and the national authorities are trying to confront one problem, with medicines directed to attack the other.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

China is now heavily endorsing its big investment flow in the Central Eastern European (CEE) countries

MEPs and EU ministers agree on closing information gaps to enhance security

Germany: A grand coalition may trouble employers and bankers

#UNGA NEWS ROUNDUP: Funding plea for UNRWA, Burkina Faso and CAR updates, Guterres praises climate change ‘pioneer’ Chirac

Gains by Abyei interim force can help advance resolution of border issues between Sudan and South Sudan, UN peacekeeping chief says

Grave concern over escalating humanitarian crisis, casualties, displacement across northwest Syria: UN

Mass measles vaccination campaign begins in Ebola-hit DR Congo province

OECD employment rate increases to 68.2% in the first quarter of 2018

We need to rethink the way we heat ourselves. Here’s why

G20 World Exclusive Interview: “The world, especially emerging economies and developing countries, require a more sustainable and quality development”, the Spokesperson of Japan underscores live from Antalya Turkey

EU@UNGA 74: Working towards a more peaceful, secure and prosperous world

Weak growth of G20 international merchandise trade in third quarter of 2018

Fairer and clearer rules on social benefits for EU mobile workers agreed

THE COMMITTEES: ‘All roads lead to the Fifth’

Murder of Brazilian indigenous leader a ‘worrying symptom’ of land invasion

EU Budget 2019: MEPs increase funding on youth, migration and research

Healing of ozone layer gives hope for climate action: UN report

Central Asia: the European Union matches political commitment with further concrete support

Chile ups foreign bribery enforcement but flawed case resolutions are insufficient to ensure transparency and accountability

In the United States, there aren’t enough hours in the week to make rent

Fresh airstrikes kill dozens in conflict-ravaged Syria

The increasing drug prices in Europe

Mario Draghi didn’t do it but Kim Jong-un did

MEPs back plans to promote water reuse for agricultural irrigation

Eurozone: Despite anemic growth and shaky banks marks record trade surplus

What makes a good healthcare professional?

Zuckerberg, a paella, and the mighty EU questionnaires that would stop Whatsapp acquisition by Facebook?

These rules could save humanity from the threat of rogue AI

The glimmers of hope in the latest dire climate report

Commission considers anti-dumping duty on Chinese solar glass imports

Boris ‘single-handed’ threatens mainland Europe; can he afford a no-deal Brexit?

Main results of European Council of 18/10/2018

COP24 negotiations: Why reaching agreement on climate action is so complex

EU Commission indifferent on Court of Auditors’ recommendations

UN chief commends African Union on adoption of institutional reforms

Activist Greta Thunberg gets preview of UNHQ ahead of climate summit

EU budget: Boosting cooperation between tax and customs authorities for a safer and more prosperous EU

Chatterbox Rome Declaration cannot save the EU; Germany has to pay more to do that

Circular Plastics Alliance: 100+ signatories commit to use 10 million tons of recycled plastic in new products by 2025

“Two Pack” approved: Is democracy chased away from Brussels?

These are the places with the most climate change deniers

Mexico: Helping refugees go into business, a ‘win-win situation’, says UNHCR’s Grandi

Climate change and health – can medical students be the solution?

How the world can gear up for the fight against cancer

UN, global health agencies sound alarm on drug-resistant infections; new recommendations to reduce ‘staggering number’ of future deaths

Can cybersecurity offer value for money?

Marking international day, UN experts call for urgent action to end racial discrimination, in wake of New Zealand anti-Muslim attack

COP24: A million lives could be saved by 2050 through climate action, UN health agency reveals

The future of sustainability: recycling carbon through the power of the sun

Marginalized groups hit hardest by inequality and stigma in cities

North Korea missile tests ‘deeply troubling’: senior UN official

GSMA announces first speakers for Mobile 360 Series-Middle East and North Africa

Praising Roma’s contributions in Europe, UN expert urges end to rising intolerance and hate speech

Africa is creating one of the world’s largest single markets. What does this mean for entrepreneurs?

Conflict, climate change among factors that increase ‘desperation that enables human trafficking to flourish’, says UN chief

‘Collective endeavour’ needed to strengthen peacekeeping further, says top UN official

Devastating storms like Hurricane Florence ‘unusual this far north’: UN weather agency

Germany may have a stable and more cooperative government

European Semester 2019 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s