Global Independent Analytics
Giuseppe Zaccaria
Giuseppe Zaccaria

Location: Italy

Specialization: Balkans, Yugoslavia

Migrants, the end of EU

It should have happened

There was once an empire that was the largest in the West and had its headquarters in Rome, and at one point it started being threatened by what came to be called "barbarians," but essentially the intruders were just younger and desperate. For a time, the Empire managed to contain the emergency by absorbing them, turning them into soldiers, coopting them in some way within its state organization and economy, which delayed its collapse by a few hundred years. Today, however, it happens that the hordes of the poor and hungry who are invading Europe are being rejected in all sorts of ways, and that is the main cause of the collapse of the European Union, at least as it has been known so far.

If we want to go back to historical comparisons to the more recent times, Europe today is undergoing the most massive migration since the Second World War, and yet it acts quite nonchalantly about it. In the last two years, its center of interest shifted from the Mediterranean to the borders of Russia and its leaders appeared more engaged in the construction of a "New Europe" as conceived by Americans than in the defense of Europe that already exists. Now it is as if the Middle East and North Africa were presenting the bill.

That, at least, is the way almost all the mainstream Western media recount events.  Newspapers and television seem capable only of screaming headlines that speak of one emergency after another, of one sudden occurrence after another, with which we must cope. Yet it does not require special smarts to understand the impact of the Second Gulf War, with the concomitant failure George W. Bush’s project to seize the oil resources of Iraq: the end of the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, the subsequent takeover by Shiites and mounting pressure resulting from it, pushing North more and more segments of the population. Then came the NATO intervention in Libya, justified again as punishment of a dictator. Results: the crisis of supply of gas and oil to Europe, a country ravaged by internecine warfare between rival Islamic groups who today control migrant trafficking, and tens of thousands of people spilling over into Europe.

Now there turns up the "Balkan route", although at least two years ago Greece, Macedonia and Serbia sounded alarms that everybody ignored. The simple, tragic reality is that the overland road to survival is less expensive and less dangerous than the sea. And for this reason, it will be traveled by migrants with increasing frequency.

While in order to deal with Greek debt the EU was able to convene an emergency meeting in a few hours, discussion about the migrants required an entire month and finally, on 26 and 27 August, at the Vienna Summit the European Union decided again to postpone the problem, because of the chaos reigning within it. Germany, despite enduring a heavy influx of immigrants (who will eventually come useful as a labor force) is now the only country that seems unable to contain the reactionary and xenophobic parties. All other governments fear their success. Countries such as Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic do not want to accept quotas of migrants or are willing to accommodate only those of the Christian religion. France criticizes Hungary for the infamous wall it raised on the border with Serbia. Italy and Greece cannot handle the invasion of refugees, but Brussels is committed to it especially rhetorically. The Czech labels migrants with numbers on their arms as was done in Nazi concentration camps. The Schengen Agreement, which allowed free movement within the Union is going to be suspended. In the chaos of the Europe of bankers, what is crumbling is not only the idea that you should show solidarity with those who are fleeing from poverty and war but internal solidarity as well.

The latest idea seems to be to "freeze" the migrants on EU's peripheral borders: IvicaDacic, Serbian Foreign Minister and his Macedonian colleague, Nikola Popovski complain that while Brussels promises economic aid at the same time it is exhorting the two countries to develop a "placement plan" of migrants, without which they cannot continue negotiations for entry into the EU. To put it more clearly, it is proposed to the Balkans to become a large reservoir and to pay for the refugees. Behind these decisions, we do not see any strategy, and there is no common vision. The only fact on which everyone agrees is that this exodus from the Middle East and North Africa should be stopped while trying to remedy the enormous damages caused by the West's last two wars. But that can only be accomplished with the help of Moscow.

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