Friday, February 3, 2023

The EU is the real villain in the Poland-Belarus migrant crisis

In 2019, when we were researching the integration of refugees in Romania, this topic seemed irrelevant to Romanians and other Eastern Europeans. During an interview we conducted, a member of the Romanian Parliament said:

“We don’t see them. We don’t meet them on the street, they don’t exist.”

Two years later, and Eastern European nations that are not in the EU – Serbia, Bosnia, Belarus and Turkey – accused Romania, Poland, Greece and Croatia of using migrants as pawns against EU member states. He is going.

Romania is in discussion for becoming an entry hotspot for migrants on the Balkan route, the so-called “path of poor people to Europe”, and for violently pushing asylum seekers into Serbia. Similar stories are emerging in Croatia with hundreds of illegal pushbacks on the border with Bosnia.

Migrants walk on a farm near the village of Mazdan, Serbia, in July 2021. Groups of people walked in the scorching heat from corn or sunflower fields towards the border with Romania.
(AP photo/Darko Vojinovich)

In Poland, police have used tear gas and water cannons to stop asylum seekers from crossing the Belarusian-Polish border.

Just as Turkey opened its borders to EU member Greece in March 2020 to allow Syrian refugees to make their way into Western Europe, Belarus is using migrants as leverage against Europe. The Turks did so to force NATO, specifically Europe, to withdraw its position in the Syrian war, following clashes between Syrian government forces and Turkish-backed rebels in Idlib in 2020.

Now Belarus is diverting public attention from its human rights violations. Poland says Belarus has lured hundreds of Middle Eastern migrants into the country earlier this year aimed at sending them across the Polish border to retaliate against economic sanctions imposed by the European Union.

Responsibility sharing is impossible in the EU

In 2015, the European Commission adopted two procedural decisions to move on quota agreements, moving 160,000 people in need of international protection from the more burdened front-line countries of Italy and Greece to the least affected member states.

Poland refused to participate.

This is despite a legal requirement as part of the EU to relocate 6,182 migrants. This is despite the EU’s 2017 sanctions against Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary for failing to comply with the requirements.

A Woman Wearing A Handkerchief And A Mask On Her Head Holds A Gray Cat.
A migrant woman holds a cat in the area between the borders of Belarus and Poland, in the village of Unerz Gorny, Poland, in August 2021.
(AP photo/Michael Kosk)

It would be easy to blame Eastern European racism and suggest that the region is xenophobic and culturally backward. Yet such simplistic reasoning would ignore the disparities between the European Union and its western, more developed countries compared to their Eastern European counterparts.

The EU’s Schengen Agreement, which creates a region within the union without internal border controls, is available to Western EU countries but not to their eastern neighbors, as is the euro currency. It is already created “a union of different speeds”.

Member states have different positions in the EU, not only in terms of geography, economics and demography, but also with respect to political power and migrant integration initiatives.

For example, the EU-wide relocation strategy for relocating rescued migrants at sea was developed on the premise that all EU members are equal and should therefore share responsibility for refugees.

But research has shown that Eastern European countries are not on par in terms of asylum. Former communist states lack effective refugee integration strategies such as national administrative structures to manage migration.

They have a weak system of providing refugees with adequate housing, food or pocket money – benefits that have existed for decades in the western part of the continent.

Inequality among EU countries

Given the economic, social and political differences between EU member states, how equitable is the sharing of responsibility? For example, the wealthier countries of Western Europe – Sweden, Finland and France – have a high capacity to welcome asylum seekers due to well-established systems of migration management.

Migrants do not want to settle in eastern member states such as Poland, Croatia or Romania because of their socio-economic status and refugee integration system, leaving much to be desired. As one of the Romanian bureaucrats we interviewed in 2019 said:

“We moved a total of 728 people, because Greece and Italy had sent us as many. There were foreigners who refused… Generally speaking, they were refusing Eastern countries. They all wanted Western European states.”

The Dublin Agreement was adopted in 2003 to determine which EU member states were responsible for accepting asylum seekers. It constitutes the backbone of the EU’s shared responsibility on refugee issues, where refugees enter the EU, binding asylum claims.

This protects the western, wealthiest countries from dealing with high migrant flows, and allows the EU to delegate responsibility for asylum seekers to eastern and southeastern European countries. This is why the Greek and Italian asylum-processing systems were exploited at the peak wave of refugee entries in 2015.

A Group Of Men And Boys In A Boat.
Migrants and refugees, mostly from Egypt, aboard a Coast Guard rescue ship, wait to enter the port of Roxella Jonica in southern Italy in November 2021.
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Yet cannot the EU be blamed for leaving Southern Europe to deal with the crisis, which could easily have been avoided by allowing people to move freely within the entire EU?

Consider the beginning of the refugee crisis. It emerged from Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Whether we look at colonial maps drawn by Western European empires or the recent NATO-backed foreign policies adopted by a slave of the European Union for the United States, foreign involvement in the Middle East has created instability in the region. .

As members of NATO, Western European states have been regularly involved in fueling the refugee crisis. It is not surprising that non-EU countries such as Turkey or Belarus have attempted to gain some regional advantage by using refugees as pawns against the EU.

EU efforts to stop migrants

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s efforts to do so only represent half of the story. The European Union has also tried its best to prevent people from entering its territory. In 2016, the European Union signed an agreement with Turkey, which specified that in exchange for six billion euros and a promise to waive visa requirements for Turkish citizens, Turkey would take migrants arriving on the Greek islands. .

The Man With The Mustache Dazzles.
In this March 2012 photo, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko looks at the media at the Grand Kremlin Palace at the start of the Euro Asian Economic Union summit in Moscow.
(AP photo)

In other words, the EU has been paying Turkey to take the migrants for five years.

With the arrival of refugees in 2015, the European Union found itself at odds with its lofty claims of human rights, the sanctity of life and a globalized open world. Suddenly, the borderless world envisioned under globalism – especially free movement within the European Union – came to a halt.

Wealthy European nations have since blamed peripheral states, and their emerging right-wing governments on the front lines, for violently pushing back migrants and inhuman conditions at reception sites.

The Men, Some Wearing Masks, Stand Together And Stare At The Armed Soldiers In Camouflage Uniforms.
Polish security forces surround stranded migrants at the Belarus border in Poland in September 2021.
(AP photo/Zarek Sokolowski)

The European Union is striving to establish itself as a beacon of liberalism and human rights as it absolves itself of political responsibility for migrants in search of a better life – all across the continent’s periphery condemning their brutal resistance. Happened. It is also attempting to portray Eastern European countries as racist villains who violate the human rights of refugees.

But it is the European Union that is the real villain in the East European migrant crisis.

This article is republished from – The Conversation – Read the – original article.

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