BackgroundEurope has been an object of immigrants’ hopes, particularly in Africa, for decades. Since civil wars and failed states make a peaceful life impossible in more and more areas in Middle East and Africa, while many European countries experience a phase of relative steady welfare, the stream of immigrants is sharply increasing. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands try to reach Europe on more or less unsafe ships over the Middle Sea acutely risking their lives.Publicly covered dire straits and deathly accidents of many refugees build a massive moral pressure on Europe - a continent of human education, wherefrom in history many refugees have gone out all over the world. Many people constitute also a potential of stabilizing economic success, of diversifying society, and of vitalizing Europe’s population in times of low birth rates. But they also imply a big challenge in terms of resettlement, organization, short-term economic feasibility, social and cultural openness, and some risks, such as the import of violent conflicts between aggressive ethnical and religious groups. For the countries of origin, vice versa, the stream of refugees opens up some short-term chances. African families often collect money to bring over at least one family member to Europe in the hope on economic transfers in the future. Those anchors may also render some valuable technical and socio-cultural inputs. On the other side, growing migration of even young and relatively well educated people prevailingly means substantial economic and social losses for the countries of origin. While the developed countries of reception get even more personal and economic power, undeveloped and failed states are deprived of their main social and economic potentials, young educated people.These bad effects are advanced and accelerated by rogue money-makers that suck the last money out of the refugees as fees for getting a chance to come to Europe. So far we know, at least essential parts of the refugees’ fees in Libya go to criminal organizations and war-lords. That is, the refugees’ money finances civil wars and a further failing of states in these regions - a down-size spiral of failing states.How the EU tries to cope with the stream of refugeesHitherto the EU deals with the refugees issue by immediate reactions: Whenever the moral pressure has been distinctly rising - particularly by new information and images of many dead refugees - European politicians proclaime the necessity to do something in order to save lives better, to fight against smugglers’ organizations, and to reduce causing forces in the countries of origin. But in practice, only the degree and scope of control and rescue organization was a relevant policy variable. So in reaction to the death of 386 refugees in the Middle Sea, in 2013 the program Mare Nostrum was launched, that implied a relatively comprehensive control and rescue program in the Middle Sea. But under the impression of an additional pull effect of the program, Mare Nostrum was stopped in the end of 2014 - facing the aggravating civil wars and failed states in Middle East and some African states. The disastrous accident from April 2015 (a fully loaded refugee vessel sank resulting in the estimated death of 800 up to 1000 refugees) pushed the public awareness of the problem again. Following the EU decided to increase threefold the means for the running Triton program on controlling and rescuing refugees around Italy; Mare Nostrum, indeed, has not been revived.Not even within the EU a fair resettlement mechanism of refugees could be installed. According to the Dublin ordinance (III) any immigrant is entitled to apply only once - in the member-state of his/her first entrance. On this way the frontier countries of the EU, such as Italy, Greek, or Hungary, have to stand by far over-proportional percentages of immigration costs and efforts whereas member-states within the continent have much better chances to hide away. Because of its big attractivity on immigrants and because of the Asylum article 106a of the German constitution, which entitels every political refugee to come into the country, also Germany has to deal with an over-proportional percentage of refugees. The 10 point plan to tackle migration crisis proposed by the European Commission and officially launched by the European Council on 23 April 2015 carries on the described way of proceeding - see (point 1) the threefold financing of Triton. Indeed it comprises some modifications backed by a more open discussion: 1.Reinforce the Joint Operations in the Mediterranean, namely Triton and Poseidon, by increasing the financial resources and the number of assets. We will also extend their operational area, allowing us to intervene further, within the mandate of Frontex;2.A systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by the smugglers. The positive results obtained with the Atalanta operation should inspire us to similar operations against smugglers in the Mediterranean;3.EUROPOL, FRONTEX, EASO and EUROJUST will meet regularly and work closely to gather information on smugglers modus operandi, to trace their funds and to assist in their investigation;4.EASO to deploy teams in Italy and Greece for joint processing of asylum applications;5.Member States to ensure fingerprinting of all migrants;6.Consider options for an emergency relocation mechanism;7.A EU wide voluntary pilot project on resettlement, offering a number of places to persons in need of protection;8.Establish a new return programme for rapid return of irregular migrants coordinated by Frontex from frontline Member States;9.Engagement with countries surrounding Libya through a joined effort between the Commission and the EEAS; initiatives in Niger have to be stepped up.10.Deploy Immigration Liaison Officers (ILO) in key third countries, to gather intelligence on migratory flows and strengthen the role of the EU Delegations.http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-4813_en.htmPoints 2, 3, and 8 are straightly directed against the activities of smugglers - reflecting a more defensive approach according to the Australian immigration policy, that might contain also military elements. Points 6 and 7 (Consider options for an emergency relocation mechanism; A EU wide voluntary pilot project on resettlement, offering a number of places to persons in need of protection), that express the project of a new resettlement mechanism, indeed not have been officially launched. Points 9 and 10 mark very limited plans of cooperation with third countries.Altogether some tentative tries to develop a more consistent policy may be ascertained - but there is hitherto no consistent and committed governance approach.Cynically falling shortIn a cynical contrast to what officials say, structural problems that provoke and reinforce the refugees’ stream to Europe have not been tackled. In the contrary, some international preconditions are being worsened by current EU’s policies: Economic inequalities: There are deeply unequal welfare levels between the European Community and its neighbor regions, particularly Africa. The European Community is practically worsening the economic situation in many African
countries by a bunch of aggressive economic policies. See the recently happened dissolving of the so-called milk quota, that used to limit the European milk production. From now on the European milk market will even more flood Africa with milk powder and other milk products than ever - aggravating the situation of African farmers and countryside workers that cannot compete with these highly subsidized products. See the export of massively subsidized chickens, or see the aggressive (often criminal) exports of used wares, such as cars, electronic wares, and poisened waste, to Africa. Also the systematic falsening and imitating of original African scarves and blankets by international criminals (particularly from China) is hitherto no consequential issue of international commerce policy - taking away economic chances for Africa.Civil wars and failed states: Europe (as well as other OECD regions) have not developed any consistent and effective policy towards civil wars and failing states in Middle East and Africa. In the contrary: Led by awfully facile policies of the USA, European countries and the (scarcely coordinated) European Community are completely disoriented regarding the question how intact authoritarian states and failed states should be dealt with. There is no strategic foreign policy aiming at reducing civil wars and failed states. Saudi Arabia, a main source of financing and otherwise strengthening radical islamism in the world, particularly in the Middle East Region, is supposed to be an ally of the West. Rogue movements, such as Islamic State and Boko Haram, that fail and destroy any thinkable civilian norm, have not been taken aware as an existential challenge of the international community. Instead they are dealt with as nothing but regional forces amongst others. Warfare: In an increasingly globalized society wars and warfare endanger more and more the general peace on Earth, also within the European region. They are highly illegitimate and should be energetically stopped. But export and production of arms and other warfare are currently a mighty economic factor, particularly in the United States, Russia, France and Germany. That’s why even those countries keep conducting foreign policies oscillating between fostering war(fare) and peace. Religion: Normative proclamations and practical realities of religions fall apart: This Earth can only survive on a civil and peaceful way. That’s why any religion, conviction, or opinion that is propagated to produce hate and civil war is illegitimate. Particularly convictions that propagate death instead of life as fundamental orientation do not come along with aims of a global living together. They should be publicly denounced as cynical and violent, and they should be dealt with as sources of war and misery.In practical reality any religion - also and even aggressive religious convictions that proclaim and practice hate and war - are respected, protected and massively fostered by many actors. Even the European public and European politicians are hitherto not ready to systematically differentiate between civil religions and aggressive uncivil religions - a fundamental objection of developing a civil peaceful society in the Middle East and Africa.Altogether we have to state a consequential falling short of the US and European refugees policies: As long as the so-called developed countries are not willing and able to strategically proceed against the reproduction of wars, failing states and economic misery, the stream of refugees will keep on or increase. Understood in that way, it is a backlash of a political falling short, particularly of a cynical foreign policy.
IPAInstitute for Political AnalysisProf. Dr. Volker von Prittwitz
RefugeesAn Increasing Backlash of a Cynical Falling ShortVolker von Prittwitz (May 05, 2015)