The PJ Tatler

In Central Europe, Another Fence Rises

The EU’s inability to deal with the “migrant” crisis means the member states will just have to do it:

Austria, a strong critic of fences built to cope with Europe’s migrant influx, on Wednesday announced it is joining other nations that have either already erected border barriers or are planning to do so. Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner insisted the move was aimed solely at bringing order to the unrelenting influx of people entering the country, telling parliament there were no plans “to build a fence around Austria.”

Still the project is a major shift for the country, which has preached the sanctity of unimpeded internal EU borders since the migrant crisis intensified earlier this year, and Mikl-Leitner herself used the world “fence” in earlier comments announcing construction plans at the border.

It is likely to run into domestic and international criticism for the signal it sends to other nations struggling to cope with tens of thousands of desperate people moving though their nations. And it could ignite a chain reaction along the land route in Eastern Europe used by those seeking a better life in prosperous European Union countries.

When reality bites hard enough, high-minded principles go out the window.

Slovenia, the main entry point into Austria, also said it was ready to build a fence, while Hungary has been championing the success of its razor-wire border fences with Serbia and Croatia and plans another one with Romania. Greece already erected a barbed wire fence three years ago on a section of its border with Turkey not separated by a river. Bulgaria also has fenced off parts of its boundary to Turkey, while some Baltic states plan to erect fences on border segments with Russia.

But all of these existing or planned fences are either on outer EU borders or between two EU countries where one is not yet part of the Schengen Agreement meant to ensure the free movement of persons. The Austria-Slovenia border is part of the agreement, however, and any barriers erected on it would be closely watched for possible violations.

Meanwhile, Germany — the country that started the entire “crisis” — has announced that the flood of Afghans pouring into the country of Beethoven and Einstein in order to contribute to its vibrant diversity will likely be sent home. “People who come to us as refugees from Afghanistan cannot all expect to be able to stay in Germany,” says the German interior minister.

Angela Merkel will go down as one of the greatest villains in European history.