With Europe still reeling from the effects of the migrant crisis, the EU has lately been making noise about toughening its border controls and cracking down on migrant flows. Two reports coming out of Brussels this week, however, offer a revealing portrait of European cluelessness on the problem.
First, conveyed in the legalistic language of a European Commission press release, arrives an unintentional bombshell:
On 2 March 2017, the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) agreed on a negotiating mandate to start negotiations with the European Parliament on a proposal for an entry-exit system. This system will register entry, exit and refusal of entry information of third country nationals crossing the external borders of the Schengen area. […]
The information stored in the entry-exit system will be accessible to border authorities, visa authorities and the authorities within the member states competent to check if a third country national fulfils the conditions of entry or stay.
The revelation here, in case you missed it, is not that the EU is working to refine its common entry-exit tracking system, but that no such system currently exists. The clueless European bureaucrats who set up the Schengen Area, in other words, did so without creating a common mechanism to monitor and share information about who is crossing its external borders. This is hardly the kind of information that inspires confidence in the wise stewardship of European elites.
Meanwhile, EU officials who once welcomed migrants with open arms are now taking a different tack: lock them up. Politico EU reports:
Migrants who are refused entry to the EU and dispute the decision should be detained to prevent them staying illegally, the European Commission said Thursday as it unveiled measures to get tougher on migration. […]
It’s not a call for blanket detention, said a Commission official, but a way to make full use of European legislation which allows irregular migrants to be detained for six months, and in some cases for 18 months.
However this particular move will be spun by Brussels, the essential reality is grim: the EU has moved from welcoming refugees to effectively setting up detention camps. Sadly, this is yet another demonstration of the familiar lesson that Obama policies kill Obama values: if you dither and appease while Russia turns Syria into a charnel house, your commitment to humane treatment of refugees will collapse under the human catastrophe resulting from your fecklessness.
Both of these reports tell a version of the same story, about the failure of blinkered European elites to foresee the migrant crisis or establish adequate systems to cope with it. Western leaders who enabled the slaughter in Syria and then opened their borders to mass refugee flows are only now facing the music, hastily constructing systems that should have been in place long ago and harshly clamping down on migration—all to solve a crisis that need never have happened.