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JR*
09-09-2015, 07:40 AM
"Thousands are sailing
Across the western ocean
To a land of opportunity
That some of them will never see
Fortune prevailing
Across the western ocean
Their bellies full
Their spirits free
They'll break the chains of poverty
And they'll dance"

- From "Thousands are Sailing", the Pogues, 1988.

Well, here we go again. It will not have escaped the notice of most of us In Here that the European Union is trying to cope with an unprecedented migration crisis. The Italian Navy, with assistance from the Royal Navy, the Irish Naval Service (believe it or not) and the French Navy, along with the Médecins sans Frontiers" organization, have spent months saving thousands of migrants/refugees setting out from the coast of Libya in crappy, unsuitable boats, bound for Italy. More recently, a mass of migrants has built up and effectively burst through the EU's "border" in Hungary. The bulk of these people appear to come from Syria - for obvious reasons. Others come from Eritrea - an African dictatorship so repressive that accounts of it remind one of North Korea - or even Pol Pot's Cambodia. Of course, it is quite clear that these mass refugee movements have been taken advantage of a large number of economic migrants from the usual suspects (Nigeria, Turkey, Egypt) to tag along in the hope - evidently the common one - to reach Germany or another Northern European EU Member State. The total number is in hundreds of thousands, and could reach millions.

I have to say that I am seriously conflicted by this process. Of course, we in the EU have a legal and moral obligation to give asylum to political refugees. Just about any refugee from Syria or Eritrea could make out a case for themselves on this point. However, the relevant international law never envisaged flows of refugees in hundreds of thousands. Nor does it create a legal obligation to accommodate unlimited number of economic migrants. The latter, in legal terms, are liable to repatriation. Problem is ... economic migrants tend to make themselves anonymous, "losing" passports, identity documents and other identifying materials, making it very difficult to repatriate them, even in small numbers. And yet, EU leaders insist that those failing the "economic migration test" will be repatriated. Meanwhile, even the numbers of genuine asylum seekers is, itself, enormous, unprecedented. To paraphrase, "We got trouble, right here in Brussels City ...".

This phenomenon, coming on top to the Brussels-imposed "austerity crisis" and the treatment of Greece by the EU, has the capacity to bring the EU to a breaking point. Germany has been "generous" in its promises to accept these asylum seekers - arguably in their national interest, in view of their looming demographic crisis. Other states, including Ireland and France, seem willing to go along with this for political reasons. On the other hand, central/eastern European Member States, led by Hungary and supported by Slovakia, Romania and (less volubly) the Baltic States, appear resolutely opposed to accept Brussels-imposed quotas of refugees, insisting that the EU should concentrate on securing its borders and reinforcing the systems for assessing the eligibility of the new arrivals for refugee status. The "President" of the EU Commission this morning told the European Parliament that the EU as a whole would have to accommodate 160,000 refugees on the basis of a mandatory allocation system (details to be announced). The group led by Hungary is unwilling to accept this - implying that, even when it comes to "genuine" asylum seekers, Hungary and others are unwilling to accept any migrant on their own terms. The UK, of course, has stated that it will only accept a self-determined number of people, only from among those still in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. It will be very interesting to see how these contradictions play out in Brussels. Expect feathers to fly ... Yours from the Budapest Railway Station, JR.:confused:

Rising Sun*
09-09-2015, 12:32 PM
No nation is least conflicted by and least concerned with the consequences of its endless political and military interference in the Middle East and, notably, the causes of the current Syrian exodus than the US.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me".

Yeah, right, and the US has magnanimously agreed to take a derisory 6,000 refugees from the mess the US created, albeit created by the US as part of the, to date, end process of Western interference in the Middle East during and since WWI, the Balfour Declaration, incomprehensible and primarily US support for the rabid Zionists in Israel, not to mention support for the rabid likes of Pahlavi and Saddam, and other idiocies guaranteed only to inflame the primitive religious and other conflicts and values of that despotic medieval and frequently much more primitive region.

At least the US is taking some refugees, which is more than Saudi Arabia and the other Arab / Muslim states around Syria are doing for their Arab / Muslim mates, some of whom have the misfortune to be the wrong brand of Muslim to make them worth saving.

If I was a Muslim anywhere in the Middle East or Central Asia and given a choice between being killed by my own corrupt regime or being denied succour by another corrupt Muslim regime which despises and will oppress if not kill me because I'm the wrong brand of Islam, I'd want to go to Europe too. Same for various minorities such as Christians.

And, having some understanding of these matters from an interesting childhood, I'd grab safety from fear and violence the first time I found it. I wouldn't
(and didn't) demand that I be moved to better quarters than the ones I first landed in.

Meanwhile, we have people who routinely leave Central Asia or the Middle East, go through various countries with similar cultural and religious systems on their way to Western Europe where they board aeroplanes to fly in the opposite direction to their escape route so they can land in Indonesia where, as with the previous 20 to 30 countries they've been through, they don't claim asylum. Instead, they choose to pay people smugglers to try to bring them to Australia.

This, as with the Syrians' demands to go to Germany, doesn't strike me as desperate people grateful to be anywhere they're safe but people choosing a destination because it suits their aspirations. Notably much better social security and other benefits than they'd get in, say, anywhere much east of Germany and everywhere they'd land in the Middle East, even with their co-religionists of supposed great mercy.

Perfectly understandable desire to get the best life you can, but after you've passed the first safe country in which you fail to claim asylum you're not a refugee from a well founded fear of persecution but just someone trying to beat the system to get to your preferred destination, and in so doing displacing more deserving cases languishing in refugee camps all over the world for years and often decades.

It's only the people with more money than the unfortunates languishing in camps who can embark on these migrations. It offends me that, as with most of life, it's the bastards with money who can push ahead of those without it.

Anyway, the solution to the refugee problem isn't admitting more refugees to Western nations. It's stopping the circumstances which drive them out of their countries, which usually involve the West (a) creating those circumstances or (b) failing to stop those circumstances.

The solution to the Syrian exodus is not to stuff around on the edges of ISIL in Syria but to get rid of Assad. Instead, we're going to expand our ultimately indecisive air strikes to ISIL in Syria, where every mission we fly merely aids Assad's war on his own people. End result: more Syrian refugees; ISIL not defeated as no ground troops put in; ISIL gets more attractive to lunatics in the West; and another massive own goal!

JR*
09-10-2015, 09:38 AM
I hope I am wrong but, for Europe, this could prove to be an unavoidable disaster, made worse by the total lack of planning for any such eventuality. Frau Merkel has taken a "liberty hall" attitude to this. Germany has promised to "process" some 800,000 migrants, with the expectation that some 400,000 will qualify for asylum. She could be in for a shock. Nobody seems to have considered the great difficulty attendant on repatriating "undocumented" migrants, even if they are judged to be economic migrants. Further, her position has made Germany a huge magnet for further waves of migrants (political or otherwise). How many more in Africa and the Middle East will respond to this draw ? Already, radical far right anti-immigration activism (neo-Naziism in effect) is stirring in eastern Germany, and even the conventional far Right (in the form of Merkel's Bavarian affiliates) have raised the issue of Merkel's arrogance and irresponsibility in inflicting substantial numbers of refugees on the German Lander without consultation. Given Germany's history of Radical Right politics, this could get very rocky. Distinctly possible that Merkel has signed her own political death warrant.

The Eurocracy's approach of "imposing" quotas of refugees may appear a sensible strategy. However, it ignores the various sensitivities of the various Member States as they exist in the real world. Several of the central/eastern European countries have a relatively recent history of Radical Right-Wing politics, notably Hungary (Arrow Cross etc.). Hungary's (apparent - actually chaotic) policy at the present time is not much appreciated by actual western Europeans - emphasizing resistance to compulsory quotas, and the need to reinforce EU borders - is perfectly understandable, unless the EU would like to end up with a Hungarian Fourth Reich among its Member States. In France, it remains to be seen how the Front National will respond to this; perhaps because they have been too absorbed in internal dissention to pay full attention to the migration issue. That will not last. A number of western European countries have a residual rump of far Right activism. It has not stirred yet but, in all likelihood, it will.

Even here in the Emerald Isle, there are huge potential problems. True, we do not have a tradition of Right Wing activism (it was squeezed out by Roman Catholic Reactionary movements in the mid-20th century). However, there are "stirrings". During our delusionary "Celtic Tiger" boom, significant numbers of migrants entered the country, and are still here. EU migrants have not been a great problem - Polish, Balt and even (covertly) Russian and Ukrainian migrants have found a comfortable and productive place here (the number of Polish masses in Irish churches ...). However, the attitude to other groups - west Africans and Muslims in general - is not so tolerant. Political correctness generally suppresses comment - but very many Irish people privately resent the fact that, for example, our reasonably generous but overburdened welfare system supports a significant number of economic migrants who are possessed of a sense of entitlement, and appear to have no intention of contributing positively to our economy. Not at all clear that the arrival of thousands of Middle Eastern and African migrants will improve matters. In fact, there is a distinct danger that this could generate Radical Right activism of the sort that we have, up to now, avoided. I was just listening to a "vox pop" programme on our national radio in which a contributor advocated a creation of an Irish "anti-immigration (political) party" which would force the Irish political class (not generally very popular in any case) to "listen to the words of the people". Springtime for O'Hitler ... ? At least they lack a Fuhrer. At least for now ... Yours from the Newgrange Bunker, JR.

Rising Sun*
09-10-2015, 11:28 AM
1. Is Germany being generous, or just hoping to solve its skilled labour shortage by taking one in two of the Syrian refugees it admits?

2. Imagine a catastrophe in the Middle East which results in the entire population of Israel heading for Germany as their only refuge.

That should test out a bit of history, on both sides.

JR*
09-11-2015, 11:13 AM
Yesterday morning, the Irish Government (following an emergency Government meeting) announced that Ireland would admit 4,000 "programme refugees" in the near future - this number to include a few hundred who are already in the country or on the way. Most, apparently, will be Syrians and Eritreans and, according to our Minister for Justice and Law Reform, they will be a pretty well-educated bunch, well capable of contributing to Irish society and the economy. We shall see. This announcement appears to be a response to the gush of sympathy in the Irish population for the hard-pressed refugees, combined with an attempted pre-emptive "bid" in advance of the "emergency" EU Council of Justice Ministers, scheduled for Brussels next week. We shall see. The Government has already admitted that "4,000" will be more like "5,000", allowing for family reunion cases. Not a good start.

While the public "welcome" for the refugees certainly reflects well on Irish people in general, and while we do not have a tradition of xenophobic far-Right activism, we here on the Emerald Isle have our own difficulties when it comes to incorporating large numbers of non-European immigrants. The most obvious, objective problem is that we are suffering from a housing shortage - a very severe one in and near our cities. One might ask how this could be so, given that our recent bust was substantially fuelled by a housing property "bubble". The answer rests mainly in two circumstances. First, an extraordinary amount of the actual housebuilding occurred in improbable areas where nobody actually wants to live. This activity was facilitated by the "Liberty Hall" approach of our bankers (?..ankers) to property lending during the boom, and a tax system that allowed developers to obtain tax write-offs that encouraged them to build even when the demand for houses in a particular location was distinctly doubtful. As a result, our country is spotted with "ghost (housing) estates, located where there is little or no demand for housing. This ties in with the second reason - that building in or close to the cities failed to meet demand, even during the period of ludicrously inflated house prices. One might suspect that this occurred, in part, because developers were anxious to limit supply in order to support the crazy prices. Then came the bust, which more or less killed development, even where demand was strong. As a result of this disastrous failure of bankers and planners, house and apartment prices, and rents, are rising (strongly) again in desirable areas (notably in Dublin and its "commuter counties) and the Government seems at a loss to deal with the burgeoning homelessness crisis among our own population. Property booms - dont'cha love 'em !

In our current atmosphere of unreality, it would appear possible to accommodate the whole 4,000 (or 5,000, or whatever may emerge from the EU next week) in private houses and apartments offered, out of the goodness of their hearts by private citizens. This, of course, will not work. Apart from the serious legal difficulties, the prospect of organizing a system based on this approach is nightmarish. What do you do if, in the end, people do not get on ? Or the welcome of the incomers in the private host's home wears out ? No, what is actually going to happen is that the refugees will be accommodated in "surplus" publicly-owned buildings. Foremost among these are mothballed army barracks. We have an impressive "heritage" of these complexes, courtesy of the enthusiasm of the Brits for recruiting Irishmen to their forces in the 19th century. These will be designated "reception centres", and the intention (?hope) would be that, since most of the people arriving will be designated "genuine" refugees (!) it should be possible to release them into the workforce where they can look after their own accommodation needs. Em ... this will still leave the problem of where they are going to live, outside the ... regimented environment of, say, Longford Barracks, mothballed former HQ of the Irish Cavalry Corps and - located in what was until recently known as the "depressed north Midlands", is not exactly the best place for an enthusiastic Eritrean software engineer to find work (unless, that is, he fancies cleaning pub toilets for a living). One of our more sensible economists (he clearly and repeated warned of the coming crash before it actually happened) has suggested that, as a partial alternative, the unfortunate refugees could be housed in our "ghost estates". Not one of his more sensible ideas. Even Longford Barracks would appear better than a scarcely occupied (or totally unoccupied) ghost estate in the middle of nowhere.

Which leads to another problem - the confirmed ineptitude of our Department of Justice and Law Reform in dealing with the relatively small number of refugees already in the country. The process of dealing, in particular, with alleged economic migrants has been particularly inept, with some people languishing in what we call "direct provision" (no right to work, no decision, endless appeal process ... ) for years; up to 10 years in some cases. Reforms are promised - but the details released to date are unconvincing, bearing in mind the strong protection in the Irish Constitution for due process (i.e. endless appeals). Given the record of D/Justice in this area to date, their ability to handle this greatly increased burden is, to say the least, questionable.

It seems to me that another shambolic disaster is in the making, in Ireland as much as anywhere else in Europe. Gods help us ! JR.

Rising Sun*
09-11-2015, 01:03 PM
While the public "welcome" for the refugees certainly reflects well on Irish people in general, and while we do not have a tradition of xenophobic far-Right activism,

You're not likely to be hugely xenophobic given that, like Italy and Greece and even Scotland to an extent, your major export over the past couple of centuries has been your people. It's hard to maintain xenophobia when most of your people are in other countries where, often, they're experiencing xenophobia as in the standard "No Irish need apply".


As a result, our country is spotted with "ghost (housing) estates, located where there is little or no demand for housing.

Don't feel too bad about that. Even the Chinese communists didn't avoid that in their quaint form of centrally controlled capitalism. http://www.citymetric.com/skylines/enough-empty-floor-space-cover-madrid-so-why-are-chinas-ghost-cities-still-unoccupied-1180


Property booms - dont'cha love 'em !

Not really. Our absurd property boom is being fuelled significantly by, often suspected to be tainted, money coming from China and other parts of Asia, such as Malaysia where its Prime Minister was the unwitting beneficiary of benevolent donations of $700 million to his bank account but which his anti-corruption body has said is quite alright. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/04/malaysia-corruption-watchdog-najib-razak-donations-1mdb


Which leads to another problem - the confirmed ineptitude of our Department of Justice and Law Reform in dealing with the relatively small number of refugees already in the country. The process of dealing, in particular, with alleged economic migrants has been particularly inept, with some people languishing in what we call "direct provision" (no right to work, no decision, endless appeal process ... ) for years; up to 10 years in some cases. Reforms are promised - but the details released to date are unconvincing, bearing in mind the strong protection in the Irish Constitution for due process (i.e. endless appeals). Given the record of D/Justice in this area to date, their ability to handle this greatly increased burden is, to say the least, questionable.

We're not doing that, apparently. The 12,000 Syrians we're going to take are going to be dealt with promptly, unlike the poor bastards we've been keeping in our onshore and offshore concentration camps for years. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-31827074

Our great and generous government is, however, ready to apply taxpayer's money most generously and most inefficiently to getting nuisance asylum seekers out of our country, at close to $14 million for each of four people sent to sunny Cambodia, at least one of whom doesn't want to stay there. http://www.smh.com.au/world/refugee-wants-to-quit-cambodia-following-australias-controversial-55million-deal-20150906-gjgg25.html Meanwhile the same genius government has set aside $700 million for 4,400 Syrians, who apparently are very much cheaper to run at only about $160,000 each, and onshore at that. I don't know whether we're ripping off the Syrians or just getting a bargain.


It seems to me that another shambolic disaster is in the making, in Ireland as much as anywhere else in Europe. Gods help us ! JR.

Don't be so Gaelo / Euro centric.

We f*ck these things up down here at least as well (badly?) as you people up the top of the planet. Probably better, 'cos we're a really big island surrounded by sharks 'n shit wif a navy n' shit 'n so we don't give a shit who we subject to persecution 'n shit, even if they're fleeing a well founded fear of persecution 'n shit. Keep it real, bro!

JR*
09-17-2015, 06:20 AM
17 September - the tide of migration continues to lap against Hungarian barbed wire. Meanwhile, a new flow has directed itself through Serbia towards Croatia, and possibly on into EU Member State Slovenia. This business is beginning to resemble the sand dams my father used to build between two sandbars on the beach against the retreating tide, so many years ago. No matter how impressive the dam, the retreating water would, sooner or later, find a little weakness and ... whoosh ! ... rush through the gap. With hundreds of thousands of migrants of one sort or another in Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia, this situation seems quite out of control.

Nor is the European Union coming out of this very well. Having first declared her borders open to migrants, Germany has been forced to close them again as the implications of huge, uncontrolled inflows became clear. Hungarian policy has pirouetted like the velocity of a whirling dervish, finally settling on defending its rabbit-proof fence against the wave of migrants threatening to destroy "Christian" Hungary. In response, the "liberal" western European states, led by Germany, "deplore" Hungary's (eventually) harsh response (razor wire, tear gas, baton charges ...), while Hungary and its allies (Romania, Slovakia etc.) castigate Germany for causing the whole problem by setting herself up as a huge "migrant magnet" at the heart of Europe. Things are no better at EU institutional level. The recent "emergency" Council summit of Justice and Home Affairs ministers featured a stark refusal on the part of Hungary and friends to accept a mandatory quota system for the allocation of migrants (or at least those presumed or judged to be genuine refugees). Of course, the Hungarian faction does not posses a "blocking minority", enabling it, legally, to block mandatory allocation; however, the EU never, never forces a qualified majority vote against this sort of opposition, at least openly. A bit less openly, threats have been flying around, including that of imposing "sanctions", in the form of cutbacks in EU aid to Member States sorely in need of it (subsequently "spun down" to the notion that the resistants might in some way accept lower EU aid in return for zero migrant allocations - scarcely either convincing or honorable). There are also rumors of unusually "heated" exchanges in Council - notably a "screaming match" between the German and Baltic ministers; unprecedented, since the Balts are usually as quiet as lambs in all EU fora. Whether this matter can be resolved at a Summit of Heads of State and Government in October is distinctly problematical. By then, in any case, events may have far overtaken the lumbering EU machine.

On the basis that "we are where we are", there is no doubt that EU Member States are obliged, not just in morality, but in law, to give refuge to all migrants found to be genuine refugees from political or ethnically-based persecution. Beyond saying that there appears to be a working presumption that any migrant from Syria and Eritrea will qualify for asylum (not necessarily justified), it is clear that many of those migrating are economic migrants from other places (India, Pakistan, Mali, Nigeria ...). It is far from clear how EU Member States can sort through this mass efficiently, effectively, and quickly as promised. And of course, insofar as the people now massing at EU borders are held to be genuine refugees, many - the young men in the majority of the group - will have the option of applying for family reunification; again, quite legal, but posing yet more difficulties for the "refusnik" states of Eastern Europe. What a mess ...

BTW, RS* - you have a point about our major export being our people. The OECD recently estimated that one in six living people born in Ireland now live outside the Irish state. Fair few of them in your general vicinity, I believe ... Yours from Dublin Airport, JR.

JR*
09-18-2015, 07:07 AM
18 September - Further about-turns, as Serbia and Croatia effectively close their borders against refugees coming from ...one to the other, trying to evade the Hungarian razor-wire fence. Hard to blame them; the new flow of migrants in their direction has overwhelmed their limited resources to deal with it. Meanwhile, Hungary is extending its "rabbit-proof fence" to cover its border with Croatia and Slovenia (the latter an EU Member State). One can hardly blame the unfortunate migrants for having difficulty in keeping up with all this. At this rate, they will end up having to seek asylum in Russia (don't hold your breath ...). Meanwhile, the next EU leaders' summit to address this mess seems magically to have moved forward to next week. Hope springs eternal ...

To be fair to Hungary, its position - by the standards of EU-related matters - is patently simple -

(1) While accepting its limitations, Hungary is the one EU Member State upholding EU and international law in the matter of inward migration and asylum.

(2) There is little or no objective evidence that the bulk of the migrant wave is composed of genuine asylum seekers, as distinct from economic migrants. Sorting that question out will be very difficult.

(3) The approach of the western European Member States is unrealistic since (in spite of protestations to the contrary) it appears to involve turning a blind eye to the distinction between genuine refugees and economic migrants in many cases.

(4) Acceptance of such a large number of migrants - of one sort or another - will undermine the "Christian culture" of Hungary, and of the EU in general.

The last point is particularly problematic, since it expresses what might be termed an "inconvenient half-truth". The "true" bit of the half-truth is that, however the majority of the population of western Europe may regard themselves, the Christian basis of European (and American, and Australian, and Canadian ....) culture is, beyond doubt, Christian. This applies even to the area of science, in which the activity of institutionalized Christianity was not consistently positive. The establishment of large numbers of people from inconsistent backgrounds may tend to undermine the fundamental cultural assumptions of societies in which there is a fundamental underlying Christian base - even if very many of their citizens are Christian only nominally, or regard themselves as non-Christians.

This points to the "untrue" part of the argument. Whatever about Hungary and the East, as far as western Europe is concerned, a predominance of the populace is "post-Christian" in one way or the other. There is a huge amount of anecdotal evidence that, at this stage, this is causing an increasing disconnect between western Europeans and the fundamental basis of our society. If there is a replacement, it is the Cult of Mammon - the worship of Money, and the practice of consumerism. This rather undermines Hungary's "Christian Europe" argument. Furthermore, it leaves the question of what - in the face of "Christian Europe's" hollow core - remains of the EU's ... er ... confusion as to whether the current migrant wave at least for processing, in the face of international law which (while not exactly contrary) suggests that, morally, it should ? Dare I suggest ... racism ? By the way - I am as guilty of "post-Christianism" as anybody else. At least, however, my parents made sure that I was properly educated. Yours from Zagreb Central Station, JR.

leccy
09-18-2015, 02:27 PM
Germany is not helping matters with other European countries - declaring that it would accept all the 'Syrian' migrants/refugees that reach it - then proceeding to dictate to the other nations that are part of the schengen agreement that they must share out 160,000 refugees between them.

Nor does it help itself by attacking the UK for not doing its bit when the UK has already contributed more funds (over one billion pounds so far) towards the refugees in the camps than most of the EU put together.

The EU can only lurch from one crisis to another, desperately brushing each one under the carpet to be dealt with later by someone else - the carpet is almost touching the ceiling now though.

JR*
09-22-2015, 10:59 AM
Today - September 21 - the EU Council of Ministers for Justice and Internal Affairs meet again, in preparation for a top level summit tomorrow. Could these meetings produce a typical EU "fudge" that will make the situation at least manageable ? Not looking very hopeful at this point, but anything is possible. Meanwhile, the conflicting (and sometimes internally conflicting) policies of various Member States seem confusing to everybody but the smartphone-armed migrants. Chaos. Just as well that Balkan wars have gone out of fashion ... JR.

JR*
09-23-2015, 09:57 AM
WOW !!! Justice Council votes in favor of a mandatory migrant allocation system by qualified majority, in the face of sustained objections from the Hungary/central European group. Actually taking a vote in Council is an event as rare as hen's teeth. Today (22nd) an "emergency" Council Summit of Heads of Government and State meets to "ratify" this decision. Fur will fly ... Yours from the Fifth Floor, Justus Lipsius Building, under the table ... JR.

leccy
09-23-2015, 03:29 PM
I just love that Obama said Europe must take its fair share of 'Refugee's/Migrants' while the US takes in 10,000 this year (Germany taking around a million alone this year - massive issues there).

tankgeezer
09-24-2015, 09:46 AM
He just sees himself as Emperor of the World, and has no problem telling Nations what they should do according to the Book of Barack. He should mind his own business when it comes to soverign Nation's concerns, and how they choose to govern their own State's domestic affairs.

JR*
09-24-2015, 10:35 AM
24 September - yesterday, the Council of Heads of State and Government apparently "ratified" the scheme of mandatory quotas unanimously. The meeting was, it would appear, quite bad-tempered, with angry exchanges between the "Hungarian Bloc" and the north/western Member States. "Unanimity" was, without doubt, secured by spectacular feats of arm-twisting (including crude threats of a financial nature) on the part of Germany, France and Italy in particular ... but safely behind the scenes.

Remains to be seen whether the scheme will actually work. Its approval - albeit at the EU's highest level - is effectively in principle only. Few details are forthcoming at this stage, suggesting that much savage wrangling between "European Partners" lies ahead. There must also remain the possibility that some or all of the "Hungarian Bloc" have, in reality, no intention of complying with this scheme. Before the Council, the Prime Minister of Slovakia (a core member of the "Hungarian Bloc") declared that, as long as he remained in office, he would not accept an obligatory quota of migrants; indeed, he seemed to suggest that Slovakia would not accept any migrants at all. It is possible that these states hope that the whole scheme will collapse under tons of EU bureaucracy and the pace of events (wouldn't be the first time) and that, consequently, they will adopt a highly obstructive approach in coming backroom negotiations. There is another, tinsy-wintsy problem that has not been much mentioned, yet. This may be expressed as follows. The working (but far from proven) assumption common among the north/west European states seems to be that the vast majority of incoming migrants are "genuine refugees", and can be processed into asylum easily and quickly. Even if this assumption proves correct, it leaves one with the problem of what happens when migrants settled in Hungary, or Portugal, of Poland, or Ireland ... are granted asylum, and do not want to remain in the country in question. While citizenship is a separate issue, and interpretation of the international law in the subject differs somewhat from state to state, the general understanding is that, apart from full voting rights, persons granted political asylum enjoy most of the rights of a citizen in the sheltering state. In the EU context as it stands, this includes not only the right to work in the sheltering state, but the right to travel freely through most states of the EU (Schengen Free Travel Area) and the right to establish themselves, dwell and work in any part of the EU. The United Kingdom which (like Ireland) is not a member of Schengen may be able (or at least try) to restrict inward migration of non-EU citizens from other Member States ... but then again, maybe not, under international law to which the UK subscribes. What then happens if the huge bulk of "genuine refugees" decide that (beyond their initial period of "reception") that they all want to migrate internally to the most prosperous Member States - UK, Germany, Austria ... ? Answer - we don't know, and possible solutions (such as the issue of geographically limited travel documents) may not prove consistent with international law.

There may be trouble ahead ? You betcha ! Yours from the Schuman Bunker, JR.

Rising Sun*
09-24-2015, 11:07 AM
There is another, tinsy-wintsy problem that has not been much mentioned, yet. This may be expressed as follows. The working (but far from proven) assumption common among the north/west European states seems to be that the vast majority of incoming migrants are "genuine refugees", and can be processed into asylum easily and quickly. Even if this assumption proves correct, it leaves one with the problem of what happens when migrants settled in Hungary, or Portugal, of Poland, or Ireland ... are granted asylum, and do not want to remain in the country in question. While citizenship is a separate issue, and interpretation of the international law in the subject differs somewhat from state to state, the general understanding is that, apart from full voting rights, persons granted political asylum enjoy most of the rights of a citizen in the sheltering state. In the EU context as it stands, this includes not only the right to work in the sheltering state, but the right to travel freely through most states of the EU (Schengen Free Travel Area) and the right to establish themselves, dwell and work in any part of the EU. The United Kingdom which (like Ireland) is not a member of Schengen may be able (or at least try) to restrict inward migration of non-EU citizens from other Member States ... but then again, maybe not, under international law to which the UK subscribes. What then happens if the huge bulk of "genuine refugees" decide that (beyond their initial period of "reception") that they all want to migrate internally to the most prosperous Member States - UK, Germany, Austria ... ? Answer - we don't know, and possible solutions (such as the issue of geographically limited travel documents) may not prove consistent with international law.

There may be trouble ahead ? You betcha ! Yours from the Schuman Bunker, JR.

Given that the clear intention of most of these so-called* refugees is to get to the nation with the best human rights, economic and social security prospects after travelling through many other nations which offer less, the most prosperous EU states can expect to be inundated with these so-called refugees regardless of where they happen to land and be given papers in the EU.

*United Nations Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees

Article 31

Refugees unlawfully in the country of refuge

1. The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their
illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory
where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1, enter or
are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present
themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their
illegal entry or presence.
2. The Contracting States shall not apply to the movements of such refugees
restrictions other than those which are necessary and such restrictions
shall only be applied until their status in the country is regularized or they
obtain admission into another country. The Contracting States shall allow
such refugees a reasonable period and all the necessary facilities to obtain
admission into another country.

tankgeezer
09-24-2015, 07:21 PM
And the Hijra continues.

JR*
09-25-2015, 11:46 AM
RS* - thanks for the helpful comment. Must confess I did not look up the relevant treaties myself (lawyers in my part of the world tend to be a bit averse to consulting public international law, probably because there is not much money in it ...). For me, it only confirms that combining the somewhat imprecise terms of Article 31 and the more definite (and definitely and really binding) terms governing the Schengen Free Movement Area mean that it will be impossible to prevent persons approved for asylum in one Member State from moving to another. The fact that western Europe at least pretends to assume that most of the wave of people coming the EU via the Med or through the Balkans are "genuine refugees", that this can be "determined quickly" and that those judged to be "economic migrants" can be repatriated expeditiously. Ahem. Clearly, neither Frau Merkel nor any other responsible west European leader has watched late-night television programmes such as "UK Border Agency", which indicate the huge difficulty in repatriating undocumented migrants judged to be economic migrants, at least within current international law. It is almost an identifying mark of economic migrants that they make sure to jettison any documents definitively identifying them and/or their country of origin somewhere along the way. Furthermore, it appears that there is a thriving market in fake Syrian passports, fake Eritrean passports (!), fake Iraqi passports, and fake identity cards of all descriptions, currently preying on migrants in Greece and other Balkan countries. I don't know about Germany, but I am quite certain that Ireland's migration service (which is as much as 11 years behind in concluding some cases involving the relatively small number of migrants in the country already) will be unable to deal with a flood of the undocumented, along with a fellow-flood of Syrian passports, real, fake and doubtful.

This leads to another comment - that the "rules" rather flabbily set out in Article 31 are already being "bent" beyond recognition by the EU Commission's proposals to address the current situation. The next casualty could well be the EU's own internal free movement laws under Schengen. I have to confess that I would not be the last person to criticize the EU where it behaves stupidly. However - and not that I refrain from criticizing them in this case - but very serious questions have to be asked as to whether, in view of current events, the relevant international law is at all fit for purpose. The "ancient history" of asylum law dates back to the 19th century, where it was envisaged as a relief available for purely political asylum seekers (somewhat bizarrely, the beneficiaries were fairly typically socialist revolutionaries and bomb-chucking anarchists who had little reason to love those sheltering them). Since then, it has greatly expanded to include a large category of "refugees from persecution". Fine, up to a point - but the underlying assumption seems to have been that the numbers involved would still be relatively small, and little consideration seems to have been given to the considerable difficulties involved in separating the asylum-qualifying "sheep" from the economic migrant "goats" (not least the fact that in order to repatriate the "goats", you have great difficulty in working out where to repatriate them to).

I don't like to seem too pessimistic about this, or unsympathetic but - and without being a bit Hibernocentric about this - the EU seems to be faced here with a truly intractable problem. Impossible, really, to see any solution that does not involve substantial departures from current international law, and major modification (if not abolition) of our Schengen Free Internal Movement system. Yours from Longfort Barracks, JR.

Rising Sun*
09-25-2015, 01:29 PM
The fact that western Europe at least pretends to assume that most of the wave of people coming the EU via the Med or through the Balkans are "genuine refugees", that this can be "determined quickly" and that those judged to be "economic migrants" can be repatriated expeditiously. Ahem.

Ahem.

Cough derisively.

Good luck with that, fellas.

We’ve had this problem for years.

How does one distinguish between a genuine refugee and an economic or other unauthorised or illegal migrant, especially when they’ve come through various countries years after leaving their supposedly untenable home country from a supposedly well founded fear of persecution? And, curiously, destroyed their papers to prove their histories which would support their claims to asylum just before arriving in the country where they want to claim asylum?

Despite my hard hearted attitude on these matters at times, which discomforts me gravely, I can well understand anyone in a bad situation wanting to go to a country offering a better one.

I’m also not keen on seeing any more bad people coming into my country as supposed refugees and figuring disproportionately in social welfare dependency and crime statistics which burden the existing population which unwisely welcomed them, as has happened with previous groups from some war torn countries.

Do refugees get to select their preferred destination or, on the basis that beggars can’t be choosers, just be grateful that they’ve been given asylum by the first country they’ve landed in which isn’t persecuting them?

My view is that the latter applies, and they should be bloody grateful they’ve been taken in at all.

If not, they’re just chasing a better future than available in the countries in which they land directly from their well founded fear of persecution, after which they cease to be refugees or asylum seekers but become economic migrants or forum shoppers or people who want to dictate terms to countries they want to be in which doesn’t impose any duty on their preferred destinations to accept them.

And when baulked in Hungary they started throwing stones and burning tyres etc, just like in the shitholes they’ve come from.

Yeah, highly desirable immigrants.

Good luck with that, Germany, and your not exactly smooth experience with guestworkers from Turkey etc.

And good luck to the EU with its borderless migrations once they’ve arrived.

I am not happy with the way Australia has treated people claiming asylum here by sending them to what effectively are concentration camps run for profit by unaccountable private companies to discourage more people from trying to land here, but I am coming to the morally uncomfortable view that perhaps it is a necessary evil that a few suffer to preserve our way of life from what threatens to happen in Europe.

JR*
09-28-2015, 12:22 PM
RS* - I think we are both rather conflicted in this matter. In the EU, the problem is that, apart from the provisions of international law, we have internal law (notably the Schengen instrument) that provide for free movement of lawful persons within (most) of the EU. We also have an internal provision - the so-called "Dublin Convention", which reinforces the requirement that asylum seekers arriving in EU states should seek asylum in the first EU state in which they arrive. Germany's declaration that it would process more or less any migrant, and grant asylum to any "genuine refugee", blew this system out of the water. It rode a coach and panzers through the "Dublin Convention", and the international system for good measure. If Germany was, geographically, located in Hungary (or, better, Greece), this might have been a matter only of their own stupidity (even if it did burst through prevailing EU and international law). Not so, however - the result of Germany's actions is a unilateral undermining of the EU's borders, falling as a burden on other Member States. Another huge blow to EU "solidarity", since our "border States" do not share Frau Merkel's "give me your poor ..." aspiration. Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, the Baltic States, the Czech Republic, and (very likely) Bulgaria have no reason to share Frau Merkel's position on this matter. Even northern European EU Member States are presuming on the willingness of their people to comply with German-imposed quotas of refugees (in effect); whether this proves justified remains to be seen.. Yours from the Frontier, JR.

tankgeezer
11-14-2015, 08:59 AM
Last night's attacks by Islamic terrorist murderers in Paris will be causing a great deal of trouble for those attempting to get out of the middle east, and Afghanistan. France has closed its Borders, I wonder how many other Nations will do the same.

Nickdfresh
11-14-2015, 01:34 PM
I haven't read that much yet, but they're saying the majority of the attackers were French citizens. I assume they were primarily from the Muslim ghettos and probably had experience fighting in the Middle East, specifically Syria...

tankgeezer
11-15-2015, 11:45 AM
Saw this in the news today,
"Three of the seven Islamist suicide bombers who perpetrated the terrorist massacre in Paris were French citizens, as was at least one of seven other people arrested in neighboring Belgium in connection to the deadly attacks that killed 129 and injured 352 on Friday night." This has been posted by French (and or Belgian) Authorities, the person they are intently focused on at present. Feel free to repost elsewhere so this bum's image is in front of the entire World.

JR*
11-16-2015, 07:37 AM
7546

Vive la France ! Au diable les terroristes ! Yours from the barricades, JR.

tankgeezer
11-16-2015, 11:35 AM
So far this morning, two State Governors are refusing to settle any refugees within their Borders. A great many U.S. citizens are in agreement with this since the attacks in Paris. As of this evening it is reported that 17 State Governors are either refusing, or heavily restricting resettlement of refugees in their States.

Rising Sun*
11-17-2015, 06:17 AM
So far this morning, two State Governors are refusing to settle any refugees within their Borders. A great many U.S. citizens are in agreement with this since the attacks in Paris. As of this evening it is reported that 17 State Governors are either refusing, or heavily restricting resettlement of refugees in their States.

I suppose that makes sense to populist political idiots and ignorant bigots who can't see that, at least for those miserable refugees who have been through the UNHCR refugee assessment processes (unlike those questionable refugees who buy their way onto people smugglers' boats etc for destinations of choice), these poor bastards are fleeing the likes of ISIS and Assad who, according to the US and its allies, are the worst of the worst. These refugees have sound claims on the rest of the world accepting them on humanitarian grounds.

Their claims are at least as good as, often better than, the humanitarian claims of the Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. Not a few of whom were turned back by the USA and other future Allies before WWII.

As for the likes of ISIS who have forced them out, here's how to deal with ISIS: Herd them into a corner and wipe them out, like we used to do with rabbits as our most destructive vermin.

7547

Of course, it's politically incorrect and unacceptable to Western nations to herd merciless murderers and criminal psychopaths like these into a corner and wipe them out, even if it is a case of treating them as they treat others. But it would be highly effective.

tankgeezer
11-17-2015, 10:26 AM
Most folks hereabouts agree with your idea of how to eliminate ISIS and would probably lend a hand doing it if allowed. A majority favor allowing resettlement to a point, but so many have expressed opposition concerning Security that their Governors have raised that objection. Many feel that the other Arab Nations could easily absorb the refugees, and that they should go to those places rather than the Western Nations (offering benefits) they are presently going to. The U.S. has a large stock pile of old munitions, and no shortage of modern ones such as the MOAB. It would be agreeable to me personally to see them fall upon ISIS like a Summer Storm.

Nickdfresh
11-17-2015, 10:31 AM
Many people are just acting out of knee-jerk ignorance here. The numbers being resettled are relatively low and each person under goes between one and two years of vetting. What's lost here is the vast majority of victims of ISIS violence and butchery are themselves Muslims...

JR*
11-17-2015, 11:54 AM
The question of whether non-European nations (notably those of North America) have a moral responsibility to accept a significant quota of Syrian/Eritrean/Libyan refugees for resettlement has not received much public discussion here in Yerp - although it should. We have more immediate problems. A huge number of "refugees" have arrived on our shores. These are not only the Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis and Eritreans, but also the usual quota of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Malians, Nigerians, Ghaneans ... I could go on. Most of these people are harmless, indeed, well-intentioned. Mind you, it is also true that many of them are, actually, from the better-off classes in their country of origin, notably Syria. Otherwise, they could not afford financially to participate in the very costly process of human trafficking that gets them as far as Italy, Malta or Greece. A few days ago, I heard a radio interview with a young Syrian woman, speaking for her family. She had perfect English, and was in great form, having arrived on Kos following a "very enjoyable" boat trip from Turkey. In answer to a question about the family's circumstances back in Syria, she remarked that they were "not badly off"; they owned three houses in Syria.

Funny thing is - people like her are just the sort of migrants Europe would like to receive. Well-educated with the possibility of recovering the value of their former Syrian assets, such people have obvious attractions for just about any European country. A very substantial proportion of the "migrants" will fall into this category and very many of these will qualify for asylum. I feel for the others - Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Malians, Burkians, and so on (maybe not Nigerians and Ghaneans) who are fleeing from nothing else beyond dirt poverty, and will probably spend years in concentration camps before being repatriated to their dirt-poor homes. At this moment, women in West Africa and the Sahel are waiting to hear from husbands, brothers and sons who may have ended up drowned in the Med. Very sad.

A huge number of these people are already with us, bottled up on the far side of razor-wire fences. More will come, and even the best efforts to persuade them that there is no welcome for them. Many among this multitude are fake asylum seekers. A small minority may be terrorists at some level. But what are we to do ? Pen them up in concentration camps called "Italy" and "Greece" ? Or even "Turkey" ? Shovel them back like rubbish ? Shoot them ? Answers on a postcard ... JR.

tankgeezer
11-18-2015, 01:50 AM
The many Governors refusing to accept refugees are doing so (according to various news outlets) because the Federal gov't has admitted that they do not have resources to adequately vet said refugees. Governors are unwilling to subject their citizens to such risk .

leccy
11-18-2015, 04:38 AM
Most folks hereabouts agree with your idea of how to eliminate ISIS and would probably lend a hand doing it if allowed. A majority favor allowing resettlement to a point, but so many have expressed opposition concerning Security that their Governors have raised that objection. Many feel that the other Arab Nations could easily absorb the refugees, and that they should go to those places rather than the Western Nations (offering benefits) they are presently going to. The U.S. has a large stock pile of old munitions, and no shortage of modern ones such as the MOAB. It would be agreeable to me personally to see them fall upon ISIS like a Summer Storm.

I saw a quote purportedly from a US soldier a few days ago along the lines of.

All you keyboard warriors clamouring to execute muslims (as a generic term and not just ISIS), to want to kill them all - where were you when I was fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, when my friends were dying. You would probably crap yourselves or fire away without identifying your target leading to killing innocents (and possibly spiraling gunfire s more 'citizens' who did not know what was happening joined in).

To some extent the west has to take the blame for the rise of ISIS and the current issues. Iraq, Libya, Syria were pretty stable if totalitarian regimes, bombing them to remove the leaders just left the countries in turmoil with bands fighting and vying for leadership (often over their own fiefdoms and not the whole country).

ISIS like many terrorist organisations win the propaganda war, it is easier for them to divide people, to get knee jerk reactions like I see on the net and public media 'Muslim terrorists' not ISIS (saw the same in Northern Ireland with some outlets, Catholic Gunman not IRA/PIRA/OIRA/INLA/etc same with Protestant gunmen and not UDF/UVF/Red Hand/etc), a generic distrust and hatred, persecution or lumping all of one religion together as bad (I am more and more against religion having been involved in too many conflicts that started due to it and are perpetuated by it).

Just bombing ISIS held areas (where many innocents live who just want to live their lives in peace) risks collateral damage and lets the terrorists/insurgents (call them what you will) win the hearts and minds of the people inside and outside the regions they control. Strengthens their support and increases their following. Massive firepower and kill them all attitude is not the answer (neither is softly softly cosey chats, like some leaders want). Unfortunately effective boots on the ground, sufficient to protect an area after it is cleared is needed, preferably troops from those countries or regions (and religions).

At the moment we have Syrians in Holland (quite well spoken, fluent English speakers, well dressed) saying they have no life in Europe, that the accommodation they are given and food is no better than a prison (staying in hotels at the moment) and that they would rather go back to Syria than stay here. Then they come to the crux - they came here to work not as refugees, they came on the boats though. Economic migrants.

A group in Sweden complained about being put in a small village and not in a big city, that the log huts (typical houses in the region, with TV, heating, kitchen etc) were disgusting and the forests were cold and scary so they refused to get off the buses for two days.

Afghanistanis in UK claiming that a UK 5 bedroom house was disgusting for them and their 4 kids, it was so small they would not use it for their animals, their house in Afghanistan was 10 times bigger.

Rising Sun*
11-18-2015, 05:47 AM
All you keyboard warriors clamouring to execute muslims (as a generic term and not just ISIS), to want to kill them all

Who's been putting that forward on this forum?

Rising Sun*
11-18-2015, 07:36 AM
where were you when I was fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, when my friends were dying.

I was arguing that all of you shouldn't have been there, because it was a doomed exercise from the outset.

That doesn't mean I don't respect and value your service and that of all others who served in those conflicts, just that I thought at the time, correctly as it's been shown over the last fourteen years or so, that it was stupid and pointless to get involved in occupations.

Nickdfresh
11-18-2015, 07:07 PM
The many Governors refusing to accept refugees are doing so (according to various news outlets) because the Federal gov't has admitted that they do not have resources to adequately vet said refugees. Governors are unwilling to subject their citizens to such risk .

I haven't heard this, all I've heard is that it is a two year vetting process and it was stated that only about 2% were military aged males...

JR*
02-26-2016, 07:07 AM
Migration crisis continues chaotically, with European Union "leaders" still clueless as to how to deal with it. Border closures and restrictions proliferate all over eastern and southern Europe, where countries show no willingness to accept either refugees or economic migrants, in some cases, even for transit to the new migrant "Promised Land", Germany. In Germany itself, hostility to Frau Merkel's "Liberty Hall" policy is steadily growing. Anti-immigrant incidents, often little reported outside Germany, are on the increase, and opposition has risen to the extent that Merkel has been forced to row back considerably on her stance. Not looking good for the next election. Meanwhile, all this fence-building threatens to turn Greece into a giant concentration camp for migrants, something the Greeks are quite unwilling to accept. Apparently, a senior EU official has opined the Europe has ten days to save the Schengen Common Travel Area; no idea how this can be done, however.

How terribly, terribly predictable. Perhaps the mandarins of Brussels should look beyond Schengen, and look the threat to the cohesion of the EU full in the face. Yours from the Metaxas Line, JR.