by N. Peter Kramer
According to President Ursula von der Leyen, ‘more EU’ is the panacea for a lot of maladies of the European Union. For the immigration issue for example. The president and her Commissioner (and Vice-President) for promoting our European way of life, the Greek Margaritis Schinas, presented last week the New Immigration Pact, a new approach how to solve this problem in a divided union.
In the original title of Margaritis Schinas’ function, Von der Leyen called it quite clearly ‘protection of our European way of life’, however, under pressure from the left in the European Parliament, she changed ‘protection’ in ‘promoting ‘. But his mission did not change: to end illegal, uncontrolled immigration to EU memberstates, and more precisely to the Schengen area. And yes, the New Immigration Pact reads as an anti-immigration pact.
The commission wants a larger role for ‘Brussels’ (read: the commission) to set up a comprehensive EU coast and border guard to keep out foreigners, to buy off countries of origin with money and the promise of more lenient visa rules, and to distribute people who do come across all EU countries. About alleviating the suffering of thousands of people stuck in camps on Greek islands or in detention centres in Libya you cannot find clearness in the text. Nor on providing needed support to countries where people seeking safety first arrive, Greece, Italy and Spain.
‘Pitched as a fresh start, this pact is, in reality, designed to heighten walls and strengthen fences’, Amnesty International comments. According to the left GUE/NGL group in the EP, the pact ‘puts deportation front and centre in authoritarian drift’ and ‘unveils inhumane blueprint for Fortress Europe’.
All in all, it promises to be another interesting debate in the not so united European Union. In the meantime nothing will change….