POLITICO.eu has today published an opinion piece that seeks to lump the blame for the migrant crisis at almost everyone’s doorstep apart from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose political situation becomes more and more precarious as the scale of the European migrant crisis becomes fully realised.
Merkel, who demanded that her country open its doors to over 800,000 refugees this year, lost her refugee agency minister yesterday, with her Interior Minister also under fire. Germany had to close its own borders, effectively suspending Europe’s long-held principle of open borders, otherwise known as the Schengen Agreement. One by one, other dominos fell.
Hungary slammed the door shut, as did Austria, and Croatia too. The Latvians appear to be caving to German demands, but no surprises there given how much the country relies on redistributed EU funds.
But POLITICO has decided that Ms. Merkel and her knee-jerk reaction is not to blame. Instead, everyone from France’s Front National leader Marine Le Pen to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and even British Prime Minister David Cameron are to blame.
Perhaps the point is that there were many actors across the world bearing down on the Schengen Agreement, as POLITICO evidences by citing the case of terrorist Mehdi Nemmouche, who POLITICO says “was able to escape back into France because there were no checks at the Belgian border”.
“…it is not Chancellor Angela Merkel who has ruined Schengen — she still insists the measures are temporary. It is nationalists, dictators, criminals and human traffickers outside Europe who are undermining this rare milestone of integration” reads the article’s introduction.
But this is being overly kind to Ms. Merkel in its analysis. In fact the very nature of such unwieldy and unnatural international agreements would obviously be borne down upon by a number of factors out of Europe’s control. Merkel’s open invite to the third world was both foolish and the straw that broke the camel’s back.
POLITICO says Bashar al-Assad is responsible because of “The atrocities inflicted by government forces”. They reckon Viktor Orban is culpable because he insisted that the “migrants were a German, not a European, problem”.
The Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan comes under fire for making “little effort to police its frontiers with Greece”, while George. W. Bush is culpable because of the “political destabilization of the entire region”.
Barack Obama failed “to take an early and tough stand on Syria or to arm moderate rebels” and David Cameron is responsible because “Migrants bound for Britain have been able to get no farther than Calais”.
The article blames people smugglers, “who have exploited the desperation of refugees and migrants to reach Europe” and Marine Le Pen, who has swung French public opinion by asserting that “Chancellor Angela Merkel was using massive immigration as a source of slave labor”.
Terror suspect Ayoub el-Khazani attempted “to murder passengers on a train from Amsterdam to Paris”, using Schengen, while Isaias Afewerki, the dictator of Eritrea has “driven many young Eritreans to flee abroad”. Finally, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi incurs the wrath of POLITICO for “his uncompromising terrorist regime in eastern Syria and western Iraq”.
None of these things, of course, are untrue. But if we’re supposed to assume that Schengen can only operate in a world with no opposition, no terrorism, no dictators, no wars, no economic inequality, no truth-telling from Hungarians, and EU fealty, then I’m afraid to say that the 30-year-old agreement is not long for this earth.
The truth is that all of these factors placed pressure on Schengen, but the camel’s back was broken by Merkel and Germany. No amount of Berlin-spin will change that.
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