The more the EU’s anti-refugee policies fail, the more support they seem to have from leading European politicians.
It’s not just that the EU and its member states have driven themselves into the complete moral bankruptcy of abusive policies that run counter to the EU’s founding principles of respect for human rights. It’s also that they so clearly aren’t working.
The whole policy direction has been based on the idea that being “tough” (read: nasty) to asylum seekers and migrants at the borders will stop people from trying to get to the EU.
EU decision makers have thus cut search and rescue at sea, letting people drown en masse. They allow people to be beaten and robbed at land borders. They help return people to Libya, where they know they’ll likely be tortured. They hand cash to authoritarians who dump migrants in the desert to die.
And yet, these abusive “get tough” policies are not working the way EU policy makers want. People keep coming.
Do politicians learn anything from their obvious failures?
Do they start to understand that some people are so desperate to escape wars, dictatorships, and deadly poverty, that they will take enormous risks to save themselves and their families? That people will take a chance on a rusted-out boat in the Mediterranean Sea or walk endlessly through Bosnian forests in the hope of freedom and security on the other side of the border in the EU?
No. The politicians seem to learn nothing.
Instead of facing reality and creating sensible policies in line with the EU’s founding values , policy makers just double down, triple down, quadruple down, year after year.
Strangest of all, perhaps, is that leading politicians basically admit their policies aren’t working every time they call for more “tough” measures, as Italy’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, did the other day. Of course, it’s ugly scapegoating politics, too, but it’s an admission of earlier failures, as well.
The reheating of moldy policy leftovers seems endless.
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen visited the Italian island of Lampedusa at the weekend and presented an eye-roll-inducing “10-point plan” of the same type of policies the EU has been repackaging for years now. They’re abusive and guaranteed to be ineffective, just like the others.
This dedication to failure, this inability to think clearly, this complete lack of new ideas on migration, is at crisis level.
And it is a crisis, because politicians’ dopey delusion would be comically absurd but for the fact that thousands of people are being hurt – even tortured and killed – by it.
The policy of pain and punishment hasn’t worked. The EU has abandoned its values for nothing.
It’s time for Europe to break with its repeated failures on asylum and migration. A rational, humane, and rights-based approach is possible and proven.
You’re in a hole, Europe. Stop digging.