THE FUTURE OF EUROPE DEPENDS ON A CORRECT IMMIGRATION POLICY!
By Professor Peter P. Groumpos,
Emeritus Professor, University of Patras, Greece
The European Union (E.U) today is looking for a new comprehensive European immigration policy intended to establish a balanced approach in dealing with both regular and irregular immigration based on solidarity, which must be a key objective for the E.U. Consultations on this are taking place these days all over Europe. The EU wants to develop a new approach to better managing all aspects of migration. Its aim is to combat illegal immigration and smuggling of migrants, save lives and secure the EU’s external borders, while attracting talent and skills.
The problem under consideration is very complex and difficult. It has also become a direct threat to the future of the EU because, for the last 10 years, immigration of people to the EU has turned the whole process into a fuzzy and uncertain illegal movement of people.
Therefore, this becomes a very challenging task.
HERE IS A CLEAR AND PRACTICAL PROPOSAL
The world, in 1994, with the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), arrived at an agreement for the international migration of people within and between less developed and more developed regions. In an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, with improved means of transportation and communication, international migration has been growing in not only magnitude but also scope, complexity and impact. The UN has subsequently addressed this problem and came up with a number of declarations (1995, 2000, 2011, 2013, 2015……).
However, it is clear that a comprehensive EU immigration policy must be adopted. The EU Parliament and the EU leaders must consider seriously this proposal.
EU member states need human expertise-resources (“workers”) for various reasons. On the other hand, people from all over the planet wish to immigrate to a new country and away from their own, seeking a better life.
The EU countries in need of labor should announce the number of immigrants and the type of expertise they wish these immigrants to have. They should send an announcement with job descriptions to the relevant foreign consulates around the world. In this way the EU countries will attract the best and most qualified people to bring into their country. As well, potential immigrants can apply to the relevant foreign Consulate and, if selected by the corresponding country, they can get their families and go to their selected country as legal immigrants with all the rights they deserve. The procedures are known – it must be examined if any improvements are needed. Certainly, with the advanced IT available this information could be reached by anyone interested to immigrate to an EU country. Applications could be even lodged electronically. There would be no need for potential immigrants to move to Turkey or any country in North Africa in order to try to enter the EU illegally, pretending to be refugees.
In the interim: regarding refugees in Turkey, they could all receive a temporary asylum for up to 1-2 years, while those wishing to immigrate to the EU or other countries around the world (e.g. USA, Canada, England, Russia, Australia, South America, Middle East, New Zeeland, Norway, etc.) could follow a similar procedure: they apply to the relevant foreign Consulates in Turkey. (Note: due to the large number of refugees in Turkey the EU countries should consider increasing the number of their consular offices in the various cities in Turkey). The EU would assist refugees in Turkey for two years by managing and overseeing this process. A similar procedure should be followed for all illegal refugees in Greece, Italy and other countries. Finally, this new EU immigration policy should stop, immediately, any illegal immigration. As well, no funding by the EU should be provided to any NGOs.
Therefore, EU leaders, you only need to create a CLEAR legal framework for an immigration policy. CLEAR means, primarily, a safe distinction between a refugee, an immigrant, an illegal immigrant and an intruder-invader. After identifying and categorizing them, with clear definitions and fast procedures, a decision should be taken how to proceed with each case. An international legal framework does exist however, it does not seem that the basics of the Geneva Convention are understood. It must also be examined whether any improvements are necessary, especially following known circumventions. Regarding the Marrakesh Agreement: it does not have the consent of many EU Member States (Hungary, Poland, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia) nor was it voted in the UN by many countries such as: USA, Russia, England, Israel, Switzerland, Serbia, Australia, Brazil and others. It should be noted that this is a text NOT binding on anyone. It just proclaims some general principles of international behavior towards the “flows” of illegal immigrants. The Marrakesh Pact clearly encourages illegal immigration. Greece and many other countries have the right not to abide by the Marrakesh Agreement and to protect their own borders at any cost.
Therefore, the EU could have a clear legislation and policy towards refugees and immigrants. In addition, there is something fundamental: both refugees and immigrants should come as friends – and they have to behave as friends.
Illegal immigrants and invaders, on the other hand, have the opposite characteristics: they do NOT come as friends, nor do they behave like friends. As well, Turkey should not be allowed to use illegal immigration for its own political and military plans. It is clear that this is the result of the confusion you have condemned Europe to: that you have not distinguished friends (refugees, immigrants) from non-friends (illegal immigrants, intruders-invaders).
Any country that does not comply with the new EU immigration policy will have to face heavy penalties and sanctions.
This will apply to all countries and mainly to Turkey which cannot continue to play games with refugees or threaten and bully Europe. And let us make clear to Turkey that there cannot be any dialogue based on this type of behavior.
If these procedures are not adopted soon by the EU and applied to immigration, then the EU should forget about realizing the European vision and achieving European integration. Let me remind you of what Jean Monnet said: “The co-operation of nations, however important, does not solve anything. What needs to be achieved is to merge the interests of the European peoples and not just to maintain a balance of those interests.” This remains relevant to this day and reflects the course of European integration. If the EU does not comprehend this, it will soon disintegrate.