The EU immigration policy is grist to the mill of the far right.
The latest attempt of the European internal affairs ministers to come to an agreement on a common policy on immigration ahead of the European Parliament elections has failed miserably.
Seven different white papers on the reform of the immigration policy in Europe have been on the negotiation table for three years, during which time they have been the subject of many heated debates among the EU internal affairs ministers. They failed to reach any agreement and the discussions all ended on the same note: something needs to be done. Nothing, however, is done.
The standing Dublin regulation, that states that the first port of entry is responsible for the immigrant, remains in place. Although almost all of the EU internal affairs ministers are of the opinion that the rule is not applicable in practice – and they give a number of reasons why this is so – they still have to come up with a better solution.
A common immigration and asylum policy that can be applied by all has, as yet, failed to materialise. National representatives have officially admitted that they cannot come to an agreement and, with this admission, are giving the Far Right the opportunity to strengthen its position. The populist parties are exploiting this sensitive issue of immigration when they appeal to voters while criticising the EU’s inability to find a solution to this crisis only a few months short of the elections in May.
As things stand, the EU has nothing to offer with regard to an immigration policy. The immigration crisis, that the Far Right refers to, does not exist at the moment. Arrivals in Europe have, in fact, decreased drastically.
However, the EU is not prepared for an influx of immigrants. To put it in more dramatic terms, the European countries are not prepared for a civil war, a hunger crisis or climate change immigrants. International relations analysts regard this state of affairs as shameful given that it is but a few weeks to the European Parliament elections. It would not be a great surprise if the populist parties and the anti-EU lobbyists win seats in the elections.
Commentators on the EU state that the real test will come at the end of the year when the EU negotiates the budget for the next ten years. One asks: will those member states that take in more immigrants be allocated more funds? And will those who do not take any be penalised?