These days it is getting obvious that the European Union, a supranational entity supposedly built on the values of freedom and peace, is putting a stamp on it’s mostly non-existant immigration and asylum system. That the European leaders selectively apply such values only for the economic and political elites is nothing new. New and surprising aren’t even the new changes for the immigration and asylum laws that are being developed under the privileged position by the technocratic elites in Berlin and Brussels. We must never forget how many people continue to die while trying to cross Mediterranean every year, because of the already existing legal framework.
With the so called ‘refugee crisis’, a term invented and endorsed by the political elites, mainstream media and affected public xenophobic discourses, the first are getting scared that now the European Union’s existance is at stake. The fear is being spreaded through the discourse of security, financial burden and unadaptable cultural differences in order to scare and convince the ‘European citizens’ that securing the border is the only way to protect their life and property. This works at least in two directions, whether pushing some member countries taking more Eurosceptical stance or completely subordinating to the ideas of the EU’s technocratic elites by securing the borders.
The European Union is continuing to build its future on the legacy and continuation of the “Western” Europe’s colonial past. The ‘welcoming story‘ of A. Merkel‘ was, at least from the point of the experiences of those who feel such laws the most on their skin, activists and critical theorists, a farse from the very beginning. Almost immediately after she said those words, Germany tightened it’s asylum laws and now under her and her’s most influental collegues, notably Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, new Europewide laws are being proposed this weekend at the European Commission. They say that in the name of securty of both European citizens and people entering the EU the immigration flows have to be slowed down. This only means that they are proposing the enforcement of the external border regimes in the potential European Union member states.
On todays Brussels summit the chancelor and other technocrats were deciding that Balkan countries mustn’t allow people (‘refugees’ if you wish) pass their borders to the other country until the people in the continuing countries have been processed. In such cases the Balkan countries should stop their transport through the borders, but surelly the most controversial are the ideas to put 400 European – Frontex – border guards at the various Balkan route borders (source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/25/european-leaders-discuss-refugee-crisis-at-tense-brussels-summit) and strengthening the maritime operation Poseidon near the shores of Greece. If such countries are opposing such policies being pushed on them they are blamed for not showing any solidarity, which also produces the discourse of the ‘progressive’ Western and backward ‘Eastern-Central’ Europe. But when we analyse the tightening of the asylum laws in Germany and its attempt to keep the people on the external borders of the EU, we can notice a huge hypocrisy.
The policies of slowing the movement flows are already seen nowadays in Slovenian attempts to let only 2500 people through its borders with Croatia. By doing this it blocks all the former passing countries, making large refugee camps at their borders, where people freeze in the lowering temperatures and bad weather. Slovenia, who is trying to play a ‘good exaple’ of a Schengen guard, immediately saw that this is a mission impossible due to the large number of incoming people (more than 60.000 people passed just in two days) and their courageus actions (continuous protests at the borders) with which they, together with activists and volunteers, produce liberative border struggles.
The earlier draft of the law proposed by chancelor and the EU commission also included the idea of redistribution of people throughout the different European countries – for now largly (15 of 28) opposed by the member states. This is an ‘upgrade‘ of the previously accepted Europeanwide quota system, which only included redistribution of people from Greece and Italy, but now includes mostly people staying in the Turkish refugee camps (source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/23/refugee-crisis-germany-push-compulsory-eu-quotas).
We mustn’t forget that the EU wants the Turkey to play one of the most important external border guards (read: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/15/big-decisions-unlikely-migration-summit-eu-leaders), by bribing it’s political elites with money and other political sweets. With such a proposed draft law, the EU is not only trying to strenghten its external borders by the process of externalization, but also tries to divide people to ‘useful’ and ‘not-useful’, the first being interesting for the German (or other member countries) labor market (source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/23/refugee-crisis-germany-push-compulsory-eu-quotas). Here we see the very important role the neoliberal capitalist system is playing in the development of the immigration and asylum sytem, which not only blocks the immigration but also filters it. The future is only for the most so called ‘talented’, ‘lucky’ etc. ones, while the huge majority can suffer in the bad conditions of the refugee camps.
The EU elites are labeling its recent proposals as the ‘Europeanisation‘ of the EU’s external borders. Citing The Guardian (source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/23/refugee-crisis-germany-push-compulsory-eu-quotas):
‘This would entail national governments surrendering some of their powers on those frontiers and granting at least some authority over refugee admissions, detentions and deportation to EU bodies such as Frontex, the fledgling borders agency.’
As mentioned before, such statements just show that the EU is being built on the discourse of colonialism from its ‘Western’ European past, but now trying to encompass more European countries within the division between ‘Us’ (European citizens) and ‘Them’ (so called ‘third country citizens’ etc.).
The recent acts of the EU to control the migration on the so called ‘Balkan route’ is just a continuation what was already done within its developing immigration and asylum system, or better regime, in the past years. The self-organized struggles of people without ‘proper papers’ in Berlin and across Germany, already fight against the repressive roles played by the borders and migration system. Different media channels and other sources are now showing images of dying people on the borderlands, but this is nothing new. This happened too many times in the recent decades.
We must not accept any dividing discourses of the EU’s elites in the developing immigration and asylum policies and fall for any consenses in this direction, but we have to be clear about one thing, OPEN BORDERS FOR ALL!
Picture: Border Rigonce (Cro-Slovenia, 24.10.2015)