“A modern and efficient government does not create expectations that go much further than the EU obligations and everyone knows they can not be met.” Bart De Wever (Flemish politician) wrote in DS (Flemish newspaper) 04/12. He does not mention any further what those obligations are. So why talk about the EU obligations? Well, because they allow the states to do what they like? And in this case the N-VA (right Flemish party) would like to make use of this. This is why this party is so eagerly demanding the post of immigration minister. Will the migration issue resolve itself with an N-VA minister? I don’t think so. There are several reasons.
No EU migration policy
Migration is a global issue. Neither Flanders nor Belgium will solve the problem of migration if not addressed at a European level. It is at the European level that things go wrong and this is the main reason why countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Belgium are now in trouble. The EU still has no sound migration policy. There is no coherent policy in EU countries. Most of the EU countries follow their own policies as they like. This often goes against the basic rights and conventions signed by these countries. The EU sees all this happening but is too weak to intervene. In fact, they simply cannot intervene when we see how the migration policy is inconsistently enforced in different countries.
At present, the security policy is the solution. Fortress Europe is a reality and Frontex (responsible for protecting Europe’s borders) is can act freely to ‘protect’ Europe. The same Europe speaks of open borders on its own soil and specifically asks the countries where migrants come from (e.g African countries) to open their borders. Meanwhile, migration is fought through the security discourse. This means that the immigrant is considered as a criminal and not as someone who is fleeing for his life, or striving for a better life.
The main objective of EU migration politics, is to stop the entrance of so many people as possible and send back those already in Europe. It is not surprising that the EU claims her biggest challenge to be illegal migration. And they mean it when we see the huge wall is being built just on the borders of ‘open Europe’. The wall of Europe is starting to look like walls as the one of Berlin. It’s even worse because it’s a racist wall, aimed at keeping outside the non-white ‘intruder’.
West shares responsibility
The question we must ask is: Will the current migration policy of the EU work? The answer is negative. Why not? The number of conflicts around the world keeps increasing. There are more and more people who flee for their own lives and safety. The inequality between the West and what we call ‘developing countries’ call has also increased. That people search a better future in today’s globalized world one can not easily stop. The reality in many of these countries is hard. The political elites in these countries are partly responsible, but the role that Western countries have played and still play is not to be underestimated. On the contrary, the West is partly responsible because it is western countries which have colonized, plundered and supported the most undemocratic regimes in the so-called ‘developing countries’. It is in these countries that the West today has its troops stationed in the name of democracy. And it does not end here because there are also powerful Western multinationals which are destroying countries, simply to see their profits grow. Development aid has so far been disastrous (look at the example of Africa). African countries have become a dump drain for western remainders and expired products (from food to drugs). The West fills her cash desk with money coming from the ‘developing countries’. It’s called ‘Reverse development’. This is what the West has been sowing for a long time now. Is it any wonder that people from these countries flee to Europe?
A stricter migration policy will not solve anything
A stricter migration policy in Belgium, as the N-VA promises will not solve the migration problem because people will keep coming as long as they have reasons to flee. We need a different policy. First, there is a European policy needed that is committed to change the reality in countries of origin. It is there where it begins. We will not solve the problem by building racist walls because people who flee for their life will step through the walls. We should change the wall of the social, economic and political problems and inequality in these countries in order to avoid that people will not be so desperate to flee their country. Until that day, Europe and Belgium will reap what they have sown.
Bleri Lleshi is philosopher and documentary maker