Angela Merkel has called for Europe to accept joint responsibility of migrants who have travelled to the continent. This would be the wrong move for the UK.
WARNING: Images which may cause distress
As we have seen throughout the migrant crisis, Angela Merkel has been keen to take her place as the voice to guide Europe to a solution for the whole ordeal. She has continuously called for Europe, including the UK, to take responsibility for those migrants who have travelled to the continent, but by doing this she has displayed a great deal of incompetence and carelessness. What Mrs Merkel proposes would be the worst thing possible that the UK could take part in and have been echoed by senior figures such as Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
What these people do not realise is that this approach to the crisis will only risk more lives. If the UK were to take a share of migrants from the continent by taking part in the EU’s quotas for refugees, this would encourage more people to risk their lives coming to Europe on the seas. According to European border agency Frontex, 340,000 illegal entries into the European Union were recorded between January 2015 and July 2015. It is also very important to note that the number of migrants detected at EU borders tripled in July from a year earlier at 107,500, marking the highest number of entries in once month since data was first collected by the agency in 2008. Thousands have already perished on the Mediterranean, with reports of a death toll standing at nearly 2,400 at the end of August 2015. Europe (it seemed) only woke up to this fact once images of a Syrian boy who had drowned off the shores of Turkey in early September emerged in all of the media outlets.
But what is Mrs Merkel’s reaction to this? Welcome more migrants who have risked their lives travelling by sea to Europe. This is not the way to go about this crisis. It isn’t just the German Chancellor who is carelessly encouraging migrants to make this perilous journey by boat; campaigns such as the Refugees Welcome have criticised the UK’s reluctance to accept its share of migrants arriving in Europe. Until the political heavyweights of Europe realise that this reaction to the crisis risks more lives, the death toll will continue to rise and the horrible images and news of this disastrous ordeal will not cease.
It isn’t just the lives of the migrants that will be risked by the UK bowing down to Angela Merkel’s demands. The lives of British people are also at stake. This is down to the EU’s common asylum policy which fails to detect those who aren’t in direct threat of persecution in their country of origin. This policy effectively means that anybody who sets foot on EU soil will be re-settled. The UK has opted-out of this policy, however, anyone who is accepted by any EU state that has opted-in will be given an EU passport and then will be free to move to Britain. This opens the door to thousands of extremist Jihadists from the likes of Isis who have claimed that “more than 4,000 covert ISIS gunmen had been smuggled into western nations – hidden amongst innocent refugees.” Angela Merkel’s proposals are a risk to national security. How are we to know if we are taking in genuine refugees, economic migrants, or even Islamic extremists?
As mentioned it isn’t only extremists that would be allowed to enter the UK but also a great number of so called economic migrants. It has been claimed by the likes of the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán that the “overwhelming majority” of migrants who are making the journey to Europe are not “genuine” refugees but rather economic migrants. This was also backed up by EU figures claiming that only one in five migrants are from Syria, with the majority coming from countries not experiencing conflict. We should not blame these people for wanting to start a better life in a country like Britain, but there has to be a degree of control over how many of these people we can accept.
This is why we shouldn’t be too critical of Hungary for taking their countries’ best interests into their own hands, rather than the hands of the bureaucratic policy makers in Brussels. They are putting their own people first and protecting their borders from the risk of Jihadist extremism and the uncontrollable numbers of economic migrants. Hungary’s use of tear gas and water cannons has been condemned by many people as a result of many distressing images of migrants suffering from the effects of these means of control. However, Hungary has every right to use this reasonable, non-lethal force on migrants who actively disobeyed public order instructions.
There is no doubt that the UK should be taking a proactive approach to this crisis, but not in the way that Angela Merkel wants to. David Cameron should be taking a leading role in encouraging Europe to start taking refugees directly from refugee camps in the likes of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Mr Cameron should also be pushing Merkel and the European Union to prevent the boats crossing to Europe like Australia did in 2013, which took the noble decision of not accepting a single boat that came to the country illegally.
By refusing entry to illegal migrants coming to Europe and by sending a message that nobody will be accepted if they come by sea, Europe would be saving lives. Instead, this would encourage “genuine” refugees to move to refugee camps where European countries such as the UK, can accept them following a thorough acceptance process which will not only stop extremism reaching European soil, but grant refuge to those people who really need it.
All it takes is for the European elite to take a step down from the moral high ground to think about why an increasing number of migrants coming illegally correlates with increasing migrant death tolls at sea. Only then would we start heading in the right direction, decreasing the number of people losing lives in relation to this continuing humanitarian disaster. They must do so not only for the sake of the national security of Europe, but to squeeze the illegal traffickers and prevent any more migrants drowning in their attempts to reach this continent. The time for doing nothing has passed. The time for action is now.