News & Politics

EU President Calls on Nations to Stop Playing 'Migration Blame Game'

European Council President Donald Tusk attends a joint press conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

European Union President Donald Tusk scolded member states at the EU summit in Salzburg, accusing them of using “aggressive rhetoric” to “take political advantage of the situation.”

Tusk didn’t mention any country by name, but it was clear his comments were directed at Eastern European states that have been pushing back against the EU’s directives to continue taking in migrants from the Middle East and Africa fleeing war and poverty.

The EU is in the process of negotiating limits on migration and many states are resisting the notion that Brussels can dictate how many strangers they must take in.

Express:

Countries on the frontline of the crisis, including Greece and Italy, have accused Brussels of failing to do enough to help them deal with the arrivals.

And anti-immigrant governments in countries like Hungary and the Czech Republic have refused to take part in any migration deal which would threaten their national sovereignty.

EU leaders are convening in the Austrian city of Salzburg tonight for a two-day summit expected to focus heavily on migration.

Speaking ahead of the talks, Mr Tusk said today: “This evening I will call on leaders to stop the migration blame game.

“Despite aggressive rhetoric, things are moving in the right direction, mostly because we have been focussed on external border control and cooperation with third countries which has brought down the number of irregular migrants from almost two million in 2015 to fewer than 100,000 this year.

“In fact, this is less than in the years before the migration crisis.

“Instead of taking political advantage of the situation, we should focus on what works and just get on with it.

“We can no longer be divided into those who want to solve the problem of illegal migrant flows and those who want to use it for political gain.”

There’s more at stake than just “politics.” Tusk and other European elites refuse to acknowledge that the future of the continent is involved. The decisions to severely limit migration taken by nationalist governments in Hungary, Poland, and Italy have not occurred in a vacuum and are directly tied to the resistance of newcomers to assimilate into national societies.

“Taking political advantage of the situation” is another way of saying, “answering the will of ordinary people.” The citizens of Hungary do not need their politicians to try and whip up opposition to migration. This is an issue that has bubbled up from the grassroots and the fact that the elites have not and, apparently, cannot grasp this fundamental fact is why they are losing elections.

European leaders agreed to a bloc-wide migration deal in June after a marathon summit.

The hard-fought agreement sought to strike a compromise between the demands of frontier states which have seen the bulk of arrivals and the concerns of interior nations who do not want migrants to be able to travel on to their countries.

The deal involves the setting up of processing centres in North Africa which would deal with asylum applications before people land on European shores.

But the plan has already hit a major hurdle because many North African states have refused to accommodate the facilities.

And why should they? The dunces in Brussels are solving a huge problem for them. If they didn’t go to Europe, the migrants would be internal refugees and their governments would have to care for them. The attitude of North African states is that it would be better if the hordes of people fleeing their countries would be someone else’s problem.

The recent hysterical criticism of the Trump administration for cutting the number of refugees entering the U.S. this year to 30,000 fails to note that the EU is becoming even stingier in allowing migrants to enter their countries.

The nationalist governments are actually winning the argument with the people of Europe. That should continue to be reflected at the polls as political parties that answer the desires of ordinary citizens will be more and more successful.