Yet another European leader summit in Brussels. These meetings now take place so regularly that it is now a substitute for cabinet government at an European Union (EU) level. This time, quite out of the blue, without any rumours or warning, comes an astonishing Turkey-EU migrant deal. This I believe verges on insanity.
It is true to say that Turkey has had to bear a heavy burden for the ongoing civil war in Syria. There are something like two million displaced people who are living in Turkey and many of them have been there now for several years. This marks quite a contrast with countries like Saudi Arabia who have refused to lift a finger to help one of their fellow Muslims.
The EU plan is to give an extra €3 billion to Turkey to help with the treatment and facilities available to these displaced people.
And the UK contribution to this will be upwards of €300 million. There is of course no guarantee that because Turkey has more money to help these people that it will be able to prevent them from heading onwards to Europe. The EU policy has now clearly changed from welcoming anyone that sets foot on European soil to talking this week about a military wing to Frontex, the EU border agency. I can see why the EU thinks that this is the right thing to do. Personally, I think it will make little difference.
What is really amazing is that we have learnt overnight that the accession process for Turkey to become a full member of the European Union is to be speeded up. I have no doubt that David Cameron will be delighted. He has been for over ten years, along with George Osborne, the strongest cheerleader for Turkey to become an EU member.
The first step towards this is that from as early as next year, 75 million Turks, most of whom are even poorer than those that live in Romania and Bulgaria, will have visa-free access to the Schengen area. It is quite extraordinary that such a massive decision can have been made so suddenly.
Even if the €3 billion was to prevent the current migrant tide, visa-free access means that will be replaced if not surpassed by a new migrant tide. Perhaps the effect of all of this will be a doubling of the numbers getting into the EU from Turkey.
No doubt the UK government will use the defence that we are not in the Schengen area. But as we know the results of this will be an even bigger camp at Calais, the possibility of Turks getting EU passports, and ultimately when they become a full member, total free access to the United Kingdom. Those who’re thinking about voting for Britain to remain a member of the European Union had better think very hard about how many more schools, hospitals and houses they think its acceptable for us to build ahead of Turkish entry.
It would be irresponsible to wait and leave our public services so vulnerable. Over the last ten years net migration has averaged a quarter of million a year. I think on current trends and potential Turkish membership we can confidently expect a huge increase in what is already unacceptable.
The UK referendum campaign has taken a new twist today. From now on I intend to talk Turkey.
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With the notable exception of Breitbart London, our national media have relegated to very junior pages of their publications the story of the six Afghans firing a couple of rounds at farmers checking their land during the night in Staffordshire.
Have I missed something? Or is this now normal and wholly acceptable? I really must learn to be more “tolerant”.