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The European Immigration Crisis
EU Leaders Struggle to Save Floundering Migrant Policy

The EU seems as flummoxed as ever on refugee policy. Sweden, the self-proclaimed “humanitarian superpower” whose generous welfare state has helped draw migrants northward, is closing its borders. The closure is supposedly temporary, but can be extended; if such closures in Sweden and elsewhere persist, they would spell the end of the Schengen Zone system

Meanwhile, European leaders are meeting once again to discuss the migrant crisis, this time in Malta. This meeting, scheduled this past April before the crisis in Syria became acute, was meant to address migration flows from Africa. The EU pledged €3.6 billion to African countries in various aid packages, which includes a €1.8 billion “trust fund” that was set up earlier to address “root causes” of migration. Only €30 million has so far been actually delivered to the fund, however, and African countries are said to be balking at the total pledged, given that €3 billion for coping with migrant issues was promised to Turkey alone at an earlier meeting.

The clear message to potential refugees and migrants is to move fast while you can. Sooner or later the current relatively open policies will be terminated by voter outrage, so get in during the interval in which the Eurocrats are dithering and helplessly wringing their hands.

It appears to be a message the migrants can intuit better than Europe’s leaders. Last week the Wall Street Journal profiled a camp of migrants in Morocco, and the piece captured this reality well:

Everyone here is trying to make it to Europe—and everyone has stories of failed attempts and new plans they hope will succeed.

“We’ve tried everything and we’ll continue to try anything,” said the house manager, known as “the chief,” as he piled chewed grapeseeds on a cardboard box used as a table. “The door to Europe is closing and we may be missing our chance, but no one is giving up. More come every week,” he said.

The journey from countries further south in Africa, such as the Ivory Coast (from where some of the migrants profiled came), to Morocco is both dangerous and expensive. It would save migrants much heartache if the European leaders could more clearly telegraph their intentions and resolve. But that’s asking too much: In order to do that, they would have to have figured out what they want, and what they were willing to do to get it.

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  • Andrew Allison

    As I have commented previously, the Schengen right of free passage applies ONLY to legal residents of one of the signatory countries. Actions taken with respect to would-be residents are irrelevant to Schengen.

    • Jim__L

      Logistically speaking, Schengen was to reduce transaction costs stemming from having any border crossings at all.

      If you’re checking to see whether someone is a legal resident or not, that defeats the purpose.

      • Andrew Allison

        Nope. Schengen eliminates passport controls at the common (internal) borders of the member states, not the external borders of the area. You have always had to show proof of right of residence somewhere (to which you can be sent back) when entering the Schengen area. Migrants are covered by a completely different set of rules ( In theory, a determination is made at the point of first entry to the EU; in the case of the current flood of migrants this has broken down. Processing them (deciding who stays, who goes) is a huge problem for the EU, but Schengen is irrelevant to it.

  • gabrielsyme

    Here again we see the deadly consequences of Europe’s open immigration policies. How many of these people will die attempting to navigate across the Mediterranean? How many have already died on the road to Morocco, Libya, Turkey?

    This is culpable negligence causing death – in the thousands. Merkel et al should be on trial, not lauded among the bien pensant press for their supposed compassion.

  • Mike_Hohmann

    Received from a US correspondent:
    “I watched a horrendous video tonight. I’ve read about these details over the past few years. The authorities do not appear to be concerned. The only ones concerned are the citizens.

    Is it too late? Has Europe committed suicide?
    Germany is called “the promised land”
    “We will breed children with them!”
    “Crime has skyrocketed.”
    “Test scores in schools have plummeted.”
    What a frightening video!


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