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Calais and Budapest
Europe’s Immigration Consensus Fraying Badly

Migrants hiding in the back of trucks in Calais. © Getty Images

In the ever-escalating war of words over immigration in the European Union, Hungary has taken a series of decisive steps. Bloomberg:

The government halted its participation in the Dublin Agreement, which governs the transfer of refugees within the European Union, according to a statement on the cabinet’s website Tuesday. Austria summoned the Hungarian envoy to Vienna and the European Commission asked for “immediate clarification” on the move.

“Hungary’s immigration infrastructure is overloaded, it’s shouldering the biggest burden among EU member states,” the Interior Ministry in Budapest said in the statement.

Orban has threatened to close all refugee camps in the country and is planning to seal the border with Serbia with a four-meter high fence. The government has also started a billboard campaign calling on immigrants to respect the country’s laws and not to take jobs from Hungarians, which the United Nations and opposition parties said is stoking xenophobia.

In very broad strokes, the Dublin Agreement stipulates that the country where migrants are first registered is also where their final asylum status must be decided. Though Hungary is rarely the final destination for asylum-seekers, its borders with Ukraine and Serbia mean that it is in fact processing an outsized number of candidates. The Hungarian interior ministry said it has detained 60,620 migrants thus far this year.

The decision comes after a strike in Calais prompted migrants to take advantage of the chaotic situation to smuggle themselves over into England in the backs of (and sometimes attached to the undersides of) trucks crossing the Channel. The deputy mayor of Calais bristled at the fact that France was being asked to police England’s border:

England has got to realise that it is not our responsibility. The English border is in Calais and I’m requesting, such as (Calais mayor) Natacha Bouchart, for the border to be transferred back in Dover and in Folkestone.

We can’t just accept any more, to be blamed for immigrancy (sic). Again, they want to go to England, they are not coming to Calais, they go through Calais to get to England.

Besides the ongoing mess with Greece, immigration is supposed to be a key topic for discussion at the EU summit that kicks off tomorrow. Italy’s Matteo Renzi, in an interview with La Stampa, said that Europe urgently needs a strategy for handling the crisis. He’s right, of course. But a consensus on the strategy does not appear to be imminent.

UPDATE: Hungary has backtracked on its decision to suspend participation in the Dublin Agreement, saying it was merely asking for a delay.

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  • CapitalHawk

    The European Elite continue to be delusional in that they believe they can “rescue” the Middle East and Africa by letting in all those that want to enter.
    The current population of Europe is approximately 0.75 billion. The current population of Africa is approximately 1.1 billion. By 2050 the UN projects the population of Europe to be less than 0.75 billion and projects the population of Africa to be 2.4 billion. By 2100 the UN projects the population of Europe to still be less than 0.75 billion and projects the population of Africa to be 4.2 billion. This assumes that immigration/emigration does not increase markedly.
    If by 2050 0.75 billion Africans move to Europe that would increase the population of Europe by 100% and cause Africa to still have a larger population in 2050 than it does today. Does anyone seriously believe that such a population transfer would not fundamentally alter the culture, economy and politics of Europe? Why is it illegitimate for the citizens of a country to say that they are happy with the way their country is and don’t want to experience such a fundamental change?

  • Kevin

    The strikes in Calais will further undermine the prospects of the EU referendum passing.

  • jeburke

    Actually the English borders are now the Mediteranean and the EU frontiers with Ukraine. That’s the problem.

  • Pete

    The people of Europe do not want to be swamped with 3rd Worlders. The Eurotrash elite is a different story for reasons that can’t be explained.

    • Belisarius

      Huntington’s Davos man explain most of it, ad a dash of hubris, a big EU salary, vision without basis in reality and you got a toxic mix. The Eurotrash is not even willing to defend us from the invading hordes.

    • CapitalHawk

      The Eurotrash elite are in favor for the same reason the US elite is in favor of immigration into the US – to line their own pockets by boosting profits through pushing wages down.

  • qet

    Why are immigrants already in Western Europe (France) desperate to get to England? Maybe England could bring a claim against France in some EU court that France is not doing whatever is necessary to make itself at least as attractive to immigrants as England. Deterring immigrants from staying by not being appealing enough to them is essentially the same thing as rejecting them outright in violation of the treaty, no? (No, of course, but this kind of logic is the hallmark of “legal reasoning.”)

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