Jean-Claude Juncker clearly believes it’s good to talk. To that end the unelected European Commission president has called an extraordinary five-hour leadership meeting for Sunday to tackle the building migrant emergency in the western Balkans. Attendees will follow their tete a tete with dinner and presumably cigars.
According to the latest press release from his office, Mr Juncker is seeking ‘much greater cooperation, more extensive consultation and immediate operational action’ over a crisis that has been convulsing Europe all summer. Invitations have gone to the heads of state or government of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.
Also included will be the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, the European Asylum Support Office and EU border agency Frontex.
To which the realist might reply: “Well, what took you so bloody long?”.
The mini-summit comes as tens of thousands of mostly Syrian and Afghan economic migrants trying to reach Germany are stranded on the roads of western Balkan countries in worsening autumn weather after Hungary sealed its borders with Serbia and Croatia, triggering a chain reaction in other overwhelmed states.
Further south we daily witness boatload after boatload of people fleeing the Middle East making landfall in Greece and/or Italy ready to make their journey north to the promised land guaranteed by Angela Merkel in September when she offered a new home to any and all migrants who arrive on the country’s doorstep.
Only now it seems has Mr Juncker realised that it might be time to have a concerted, pan-European response to stem that human tide.
News of the meeting comes on the same day Breitbart London reports that the trade in illegal documents for these migrants is rife, the crisis is topping the list of concerns for voters ahead of the upcoming Polish elections and insiders say the EU’s own policy on migrants is close to collapse.
Oh, and let’s not forget that today migrants stepped ashore at the RAF base on Cyprus.
Then there’s the taxpayer money that is being sprayed around by the EU. We know it is asking for member states to provide migrant places while urging them to pledge much more money to help ease Europe’s worst migrant crisis since World War II.
Since an emergency EU summit on September 23, member states have disbursed around 474 million euros ($538 million) out of total pledges of about 2.8 billion euros.
Let’s not forget Turkey. On Sunday, German Chancellor, Merkel visited Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Erdogan in Istanbul and made these requests:
- Increase the border patrols in the Aegean Sea to prevent human smugglers from carrying migrants from Turkey to Greece’s islands.
- Give work permits to Iraqis and Syrians, so that they can work in Turkey, and not have to travel to Europe to earn a living.
- Take in migrants sent back by the EU.
In exchange, Merkel is offering:
- To give up to 3 billion euros in aid — not to Turkey, but to the refugees.
- To allow citizens of Turkey to travel to Europe without a visa.
- To push forward the negotiations for Turkey’s membership in the EU.
Such chaos all played out to the backdrop of migrant camps in Calais dissolving into gang violence and the Channel Tunnel entrances being invaded on a nightly basis.
Only now has Jean-Claude Juncker decided it might be time to have a chinwag while ignoring the point that ending the supply of migrants at source might be more effective than trying to accommodate them after they have arrived.
After all, what you reward you get more of.
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