By Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos
Ambassador ad honorem
The European Commission submitted on September 23 its proposal on a New Pact on Migration and Asylum.that is included in eleven documents.The papers are quite technical and they deal primarily in managing in a proper way the influx in the EU of migrants,legal or illegal.The proposal is more of a defensive nature,meaning that it deals mainly with preventing migrants from entering the EU,or once having entered to return them to their country of origin.It is a useful proposal and its adoption might be helpful in reducing the number of migrants entering the EU illegally.
However,very briefly and without going into details the proposal deals with the reasons that people are leaving their countries to find,what they think will be,a better future in the E.U. It must be reminded here that the EU’s policies towards Africa were not helpful in assisting the development of countries on that continent.The fishery policy of the EU resulted that many fishermen became unemployed and reverted to piracy in order to sustain their families.The proposal mentions “It is important to address the complex challenges of migration and its root causes,to the benefit of the EU and its citizens,partner countries,migrants and refugees themselves… Different policies such as development cooperation, security, visa, trade, agriculture, investment and employment,energy,environment,and climate change and education should not be dealt in isolation.They are best handled as part of a tailored made approach,at the core of a really mutual beneficial partnership…..(COM 2020) 609 final 23.9.2020 para.6.1).This implies that the previously mentioned policies when adopted or adapted should take into consideration their effect on third countries and on migration ..Had this been done in the past,the problem of illegal immigration in the EU would have been less today..
The issue of refugees coming from war zones is not dealt here for obvious reasons.The most reasonable approach to these refugees would be that they should be given asylum in all those EU countries that participated in military operations in Syria,Afghanistan,Libya ,Iraq etc.It is only fair that these countries take them because they participated in creating the reasons for normal citizens to become refugees.Thus it was unfair that Greece took in a great number of refugees from Syria since it did not participate in the military operations there.And perhaps it should be agreed upon that before EU countries participate in any kind of military operations,they should agree on the distribution of refugees between them.Maybe in that way,when they see the numbers, they will not participate and a planned military operation will not take place.
As far as economic refugees are concerned,since most of them are a result of failed EU policies,for which all members bear responsibility,they should be distributed to all member states according to their GNP..However if the new approach mentioned above,implying investments in the partner countries, is effectively implemented,then one reason for creating economic refugees will have been eliminated.And that is positive for both sides.
In conclusion, the eventual inclusion of the proposal on refugees coming from war zones,in the Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum, could also enhance peace by discouraging military operations.