By Ferenc Almássy.
Central Europe – Three countries in particular are tightening their migration policy at this time. But this is only the beginning of a new stage. Positioning on the topic of immigration will be decisive for the future of the European continent, including in terms of international relations.
In the fight against illegal immigration on the road to the Balkans, Hungary is the star. The conservative government of center-right wing Viktor Orbán has since 2015 sought to stem the colossal flow/influx of illegal immigrants arriving by the Balkans to the European Union by erecting a barrier to its border.
That made a lot of noise, and provoked many attacks on Hungary despite merely fulfilling her duty toward the Schengen area. The Bulgarian or Spanish barriers did not receive the same media treatment. Not to mention France, which, in Calais, had an equivalent mileage of fences to that of Hungary along her border with Serbia.
In this opposition to a well-organized migration phenomenon, Hungary is adamant. Today the flood is almost dry, but Turkey is more than ever threatening to put an end to the agreement with the EU on migrants; if this were to happen, there would be a massive new influx of illegal immigrants who would sweep across the Balkan route.
Prevention is better than cure
For many months now, the Hungarian government, supported by other governments in the Central European region, has been calling for the prevention of immigration rather than having to face or block it. The barrier, for the Hungarian government, is not a good solution, but a costly burden. However, for as long as no action is taken at the continental level, it is necessary.
Also, in view of the threat of a new migration wave waged by Erdogan, the Hungarian government has strengthened its barrier by installing a second fence, as well as electronic equipment.
But that’s not all. Since 28 March, Hungary has introduced new rules concerning migrants, whether they are clandestine or not. Of course, the NGOs and media subordinated to the rulers hastened to pour out a plethora of calumnies and foul attacks. But this uproar no longer has any concrete influence or effect against a government supported by the vast majority of its people on this issue, and supported by more and more foreign governments.
Back to reality for some
The Austrian government is a good illustration of the political turnaround that could become widespread in Europe. Concerned by the rise of the FPÖ and its near-victory in the last presidential elections, faced with more and more troubles related to migrants, the government of Chancellor Kern renewed the dialogue with Orbán, instituted border controls and erected border fences at key border crossings with Hungary and Italy.
At the same time, the country says it no longer wants migrants, asking the European Commission to be exempted from the migrants who would be sent through a redistribution scheme, as “Austria has already fulfilled her obligations”. And at the same time, Kern seeks to urge the Visegrád Group to accept the same redistribution scheme – which comes back in the form of a threat again, in order to get rid of its undesirables.
It must be said that the Austrian situation forces the centrists to face reality. In 2016, 22,000 complaints were filed as a result of migrant assaults. According to Interior Minister Sobotka, 90% of asylum seekers have no job opportunities, and will live on state subsidies. The government now wants to drop from 37,500 to 17,000 the number of places for asylum seekers. This is unacceptable for the FPÖ, who are leading the polls for the 2018 parliamentary elections, and are calling for zero immigration.
The contagion of common sense
Croatia, a newcomer of the European Union and a zealous pupil, remained very cautious throughout the migrant crisis. However, quietly, a number of measures have been taken. Especially in recent months.
Like its Magyar neighbor, Croatia is now turning back migrants to Serbia, where they are still passing through. Some NGOs report that the Croatian police even reject asylum seekers.
Since the beginning of the migrant crisis in 2015, violence has only worsened, it is true. NGOs and the press are just repeating it again and again. However, they do not understand that they are terribly involved in this growing tension mechanism because the violence that is taking hold of the continent is as much physical as verbal, symbolic, political and moral.
The European Union is abused and ostensibly disunited and powerless. Terrorist acts include migrants. Trucheons hit people and barriers are erected everywhere. Pro-migrant propaganda and its holy war rages against the right of peoples to govern themselves. The sometimes crushing communication of certain governments, media and individuals against immigration and against Islam is a contant battle.
The violence of foreign interference, diplomatic threats, shocking images and human dramas, from the shipwrecks of the Mediterranean to the Christmas market in Berlin, are shattering our lives. And what about the violence of some elections, all indirectly subject to the pressure of the migratory issue? Elections are getting increasingly suspicious, with harsher and more irregular campaigns, as pro-migrants are pressured and worried about losing power.
Violence, which is also expressed by the European Union’s collapse, which as critical as it is on its current objectives and methods, remains the expression of the Europeans’ good relationship and their continental political tool.
The positive aspect of all this is the clarification of the fault lines, the unveiling of the political forces and networks of influence opposed to the European peoples and their rights – which should be – fundamental and untouchable.
The crisis of migrants is, as Viktor Orbán said, a poison. Both for individuals, whether it’s the migrants abused by false hopes, or the indigenous people of this continent.
All this weighs on economics, order, justice, the cohesion of nations and population balances, and places even more danger on the identity of Europeans and on peace itself – by the way, all of us should wonder who is benefiting from the weakening of Europe.
Constrained by a hard return to reality or by the pressure of clairvoyants, some governments have or will change their policy on the divisive issue of non-European mass migration.
Others, like the V4 countries, prefer to prevent than cure. And this attitude gives them, already now, a considerable advantage that will bear fruit in the decades to come.