Sunday, October 25, 2015

Migration and security, the European trade off

The migration in Europe has been for some time one of the major security policy concerns for the Union. The elite opinion has tried in the past to shape an appropriate response, by trying to incentivize assimilation. This however has had more or less success as described by Paul Collier’s book Exodus. The author explains here that the constant perpetual flow of immigration does not allow European countries to properly absorb all the newcomers thus creating Diasporas, which are not part of the local society. And according to him, they then keep their beliefs and you start to see friction between migrants and the local population, which may lead to greater instability in the country.  

This difficult situation has gotten worse recently with the conflict in Syria not seeing any improvement. More than 25% of the Syrian population has left the country to try to immigrate to Europe in hope for a better life. With this enormous inflow Europe’s elite opinion has had to change its policy to a much more responsive one. The problem with being reactive is that one cannot afford to be so selective about its choices and has to act more quickly. Some European countries are then thinking about adopting measures that will stop the stream of refugees at the source.

The latest idea proposed by the German government is to apply a value trade off in its relations with Turkey. This country has for a long time wanted to enter the European Union but because of its record with Human Rights, especially with regards on how they treat Kurds, being unsatisfactory Turkey has been denied in its request. It also happens that this country is harboring millions of refugees, most of them from Syria, trying to get to Europe. Germany is then suggesting reopening negotiations with Turkey if the latter agrees to hold more refugees within its borders.

Should such a trade off really be implemented, Germany and the other European countries might see a hinder in their reputation as Human Rights defenders. Especially since one of Turkey’s request is to be seen as a “safe country of origin” during the negotiation process, which would make any Turkish Kurd seeking political asylum in the EU ineligible to do so.  We can conclude by asking ourselves if security is worth turning a blind eye on Turkish loose Human Rights application?

- The New York Times 

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