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Nationalists: Mateo Salvini, Marine LePen, Heinz-Christian Strache and Geert Wilders

Today’s European edition of the Wall Street Journal  has an op-ed by a quartet of national sovereignty political leaders:  Mateo Salvini of Italy’s Northern League, Marine Le Pen of France’s National Front, Heinz- Christian Strache  of Austria’s  Freedom Party and Geert Wilders of Holland’s Freedom Party.

The title of their opinion article, “Restoring Europe’s Borders and Sovereign Nations,” sends a resounding message of rising concerns and anxieties of the body polities in their respective countries and others in Eastern Europe. That is reflected in daily scenes of a borderless Europe invaded by massive waves of thousands of largely Muslim refugees and illegal economic migrants that has placed an enormous fiscal burden and security problems vetting the throngs for suspected terrorists.

They suggest rejection of the Schengen system and the reinstitution of national immigration and border control across Europe to protect cultural identities in the face of EU determination to accommodate diversity. Diversity occasioned by the hundreds of thousands of refugees and economic migrants from poorer countries in the Balkans, Syria and Iraq in the Middle East, South Asia, Eastern and Sub-Sahara Africa.

Yesterday, an EU summit in Brussels reached an agreement to fund a 3 Billion Euro Turkish operation for Syrian refugee camps to stem the flood of asylum seekers and migrants by keeping them in country. That comes at the price of a Faustian bargain: the quid pro quo of admitting Islamist Turkey, as an EU member. The prospects of the latter occurring are dim given the tyranny and human rights violations of the Erdogan government teetering on the brink of a snap election on November 1st. Last weekend’s twin bombings at a peace rally in Ankara are illustrative of internal problems that might send a different wave of asylum seekers to the EU.

immigrants crossing hungary border

Waves of migrants crossing the border between Croatia and Hungary under the eyes of the Hungarian soldiers on Sept. 22. Photo: Danilo Balducci/Zuma Press

Here is what the quartet of national sovereignty political leaders from Italy, France, Austria and the Netherlands wrote.

Europe. Imagine a world without her. Sure, the geographical entity will always continue to exist. But the civilization is in danger. Millions of migrants are currently arriving in Europe. More than half a million have already done so. Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, says the greatest tide of refugees and migrants is still to come. Hungary’s foreign minister expects 35 million people heading to Europe. This will be the end of [cultural identities] as we know them.

The situation is completely out of control. Too many fortune seekers, too much illiteracy. Some of the migrants are refugees, but the majority comes for economic reasons. Our European economies and social-protection systems cannot cope with this. The media prefer to focus on families and children, but their images cannot conceal that the asylum seekers flocking to Europe are predominantly young men. Many are unskilled.

But the main problem is that, unlike the flow of refugees at the end of World War II, these migrants come from countries with a culture entirely different from Europe’s. Mass immigration is leading to the dilution of cultural identity in the European Union member states.

Its citizens resent this. Instinctively, these citizens are patriots. They don’t like to lose their identity as a people. They don’t want to give up their countries. Instinctively, they grasp two very important truths. First, that without identity, there is no country. Second, that without a country, there can be no prosperity, no justice, no democracy, and no liberty.

The European Union has slowly been eroding Europe’s nation-states by gradually dismantling their sovereignty. It has robbed our countries of the right to conduct our own national asylum policies. Last month, the EU forced refugee quotas on its member states and overruled governments who disagreed. The mask has fallen, and the peoples of Europe have seen the EU’s ugly face.

Better than before, they now realize that our national parliaments have been reduced to fake parliaments. Vital matters, including those concerning our national identities, are no longer decided by our national parliaments but by obscure institutions in Brussels. People are forced to give away their country without even having a say in the matter.

Governments in Eastern Europe are especially sensitive about this. It’s no coincidence that the strongest resistance to the EU’s mandatory migrant quotas comes from countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. For many decades these countries were ruled from Moscow without their consent. They don’t want to now be ruled from Brussels without their consent.

But the migration crisis has also alarmed the peoples of Western Europe. Polls and election results in recent weeks clearly indicate that patriot parties such as ours are growing spectacularly.

While the governments in Western Europe’s capitals bash the leaders in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, millions of citizens in Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands and other nations share their concerns.

In Vienna’s regional elections Sunday, the Austrian Freedom Party won a third of the votes. In polls in the Netherlands, the Party for Freedom has become as big as the two governing parties combined. In France, polls indicate that the National Front will win its local elections in December. In Italy three months ago, the Northern League made stunning electoral gains.

While millions are on their way to Europe, millions in Europe realize that they have been betrayed by the political elites in The Hague, Paris, Rome, Vienna and other capitals. Our parliaments have been emasculated by Brussels and are filled with politicians who no longer care about our basic national interests. Governments don’t mind the loss of national sovereignty and national identities either. Far too often, they are composed of politicians who hope to one day pursue an international career at an EU or U.N. institution after their national career ends.

The gap between the citizens and those who rule them has never been so wide. We have to close this gap in order to reassert control over our own borders. And we can do so democratically by mobilizing the people to vote for parties that stand for national sovereignty and the defense of national identities. Reclaiming democracy: that is the key to solving the migration crisis.

There is no need to imagine a world without the nations of Europe. It’s clear what needs to happen. We need to reclaim our national sovereignty, abolish EU treaties such as the Schengen treaty and reaffirm the supremacy of national parliaments.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of left to right Matteo Salvini of Italy’s Northern League, Harald Vilimsky of Austria’s Freedom, Geert Wilders of the Netherland’s Freedom Party. The image is courtesy of the European edition of The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2015.

Proposed EU Quota for Distribution of Illegal Migrants Draws Fire

The European Commission’s (EC) European Agenda for Migration has floated its proposals for dealing with the massive surge in illegal migrants being smuggled across the Mediterranean by human traffickers. That has created discord among the 28 EU members about the rescue burden placed on so-called front line countries in the Mediterranean like Malta, Italy, Greece and Spain versus the relocation burden on major members like Germany and Sweden. It has also given rise to UN criticism for a controversial plan to destroy the rickety boats of human traffickers in Libya and elsewhere in North Africa, originally proposed by EU Foreign Relations Commissioner, Frederica Mogherini. A side show has been the UN and European Parliament adverse comments of  the ’horrible’ national survey in Hungary opposing EU and UN setting allotments and quotas for distribution of asylees and refugees. Hungary’s PM Orban is a prominent member of the large center right European Parliament EPP coalition. The formal release of the EU Commission’s proposal is scheduled for Wednesday, May 13th.

We wrote in our NER article on this roiling debate in the May edition, “Stemming the Surge of Deadly Illegal Migration Across the Mediterranean”:

The EC proposed a pilot project to re-distribute 5,000 refugees who meet asylum requirements stranded outside the EU, as an attempt to fairly distribute the burden of asylees. That flies in the face of objections by major northern countries to further asylum quotas. In 2014, 626,065 refugees filed asylum claims, a 44% percent increase over 2013. As one example, Germany experienced a sharp rise is asylum requests over the first quarter of 2015 to 85,394, double over the same period in 2014. By contrast the U.S. received 47,500 asylum applications.

The majority of those asylum seekers hail from Kosovo, Syria and Albania. Germany currently has a backlog of over 200,000 applications. This has given rise to complaints by municipalities in Germany about the impact on facilities and community integration. In the most controversial proposal, the EC requested EU Foreign Relations Commissioner Federica Mogherini to develop rules of engagement enabling it to capture and destroy illegal smuggling vessels. Overall EC President Donald Tusk of Poland said the illegal migrant crisis is a” complex issue” that will “take time to tackle.”

The EUObserver reported  the leaked contents of the EC proposals and reactions:

Leaked documents, seen by EUobserver, indicate that both ideas are now back on the table in an effort to help ease pressure on select member states.

“The EU needs a permanent system for sharing the responsibility for large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers among member states,” notes the draft document.

Some 80 percent of all asylum applications are processed in six EU countries, with most refugees from Syria either ending up in Germany or Sweden.

Germany’s Angela Merkel reportedly backs the commission’s proposals but the issue has already generated a backlash elsewhere.

Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban on Friday described the commission plan as “mad and unfair”.

Earlier this month, he proposed setting up new national legislation to keep out immigrants even it runs counter to EU rules.

“If [other EU members] want to receive immigrants, they can do it. But then they should not send them back here, or through us,” said the Hungarian leader.

According to the leaked commission text, the EU executive wants member states to resettle around 20,000 new refugees every year, although the final figure could change.

An initial figure of 5,000 had been floated last month at the EU emergency summit, but was then dropped.

[…]

The number of relocated migrants to be taken in by each state would depend on the member state’s population size, economic strength, unemployment level and number of refugees already there.

“The commission will table legislation by the end of 2015 to provide for a mandatory and automatically-triggered relocation system to distribute those in clear need of international protection within the EU when a mass influx emerges,” notes the commission paper.

The proposed quota system would not be binding on Ireland, the UK and Denmark.

This has brought an immediate reaction from the newly elected Conservative government of UK Prime Minister David Cameron.  The Guardian reported:

“We will oppose any EU commission proposals to introduce a non-voluntary quota,” a spokesperson told the paper.

Britain is instead pushing for an UN-backed resolution to “destroy the business model of the traffickers” by sinking the boats and rubber dinghies used to ferry migrants across the sea.

The UK’s Royal Navy’s flagship HMS Bulwark and its three Merlin helicopters are already at port in Malta.

Debate at the UN Security Council session yesterday in Manhattan revealed criticism of the EU Foreign Commissioner’s proposal to attack the smuggler vessels engaged in trafficking of illegal migrants. The EU Observer reported:

Peter Sutherland, the UN special envoy on migration and a former EU commissioner, issued the warning at a meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) warned the EU that “innocent refugees”, including children, will be “in the line of fire” of any operation to sink migrant smugglers’ boats.

He noted that in the first 130 days of this year “at least” 1,800 people drowned in the Mediterranean Sea trying to get to EU shores.

“This total represents a 20-fold increase over the same period last year. At this pace, we are on course to see between 10,000 and 20,000 migrants perish by autumn”.

He said about half the people who make it have a legitimate need for EU protection.

EU Foreign Relations Commissioner Mogherini replied:

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini told the UNSC, also on Monday, that she’s been tasked “to propose actions to disrupt the business model of human trafficking networks across the Mediterranean”.

“We have in these [past] weeks prepared for a possible naval operation in the framework of the European Union Common Security and Defence Policy. The mandate of this operation is currently being elaborated with the EU member states”.

“We want to work with the United Nations, in particular with the UNSC”, she added.

She took pains to say the military plan is part of a wider approach.

She also pledged that “no refugees or migrants intercepted at sea will be sent back against their will”.

[…]

“This is not all about Libya, we know that very well. This can happen in other parts of the world. But we all know also very well that the vast majority of human trafficking and smuggling in these months is happening in Libya, or rather, through Libya”, Mogherini noted.

Given the divisions within the EU, it would appear the roiling political debate over how to handle the deadly illegal migrant surge of illegal migrants across the Mediterranean may be irresolvable. Much of the illegal migrant flight is driven by civil war and jihad conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Al Qaeda-linked terror groups in Africa. This despite the suggestions of  Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders that perhaps the only ways to deal with the surge is to adopt the Australian model of returning the stream of illegal migrants for possible relocation in North Africa and other areas in the Middle East. That is likely to be objected to by the UN High Commissioner of Refugees seeking to depopulate huge refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan and elsewhere across the Muslim Ummah. The Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council would clearly object to such a scheme involving the members of the GCC embroiled in a war against Iran–backed Houthi Rebels in Yemen.

The question is whether that means an increase in refugee resettlement  allotments  courtesy of the UNHCR  might be coming here in the U.S. The arrival of Syrian refugees in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is  already causing a rising debate among localities in the American heartland.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of illegal migrants picked up in the Mediterranean. Source: Migrant Offshore Aid Station