The European Council held a special session on refugees and migration. The focus, not for the first time, is on measures to combat symptoms, compartmentalization, and externalization. The negotiations on the new European Asylum Pact, meanwhile, still do not seem to offer a solution to the mistreatment of refugees at the external borders and the lack of solidarity among the member states. My briefing on the current state of negotiations on the asylum pact in the context of the EU Special Council can be found here.
Most EU member states focus on symbols and symptom control in migration policy. The consequences are chaos at the external borders, human rights violations, and a disorderly, undignified asylum system in large parts of Europe. Instead of reducing the number of refugees by seriously combating the causes of flight, the focus is on isolation, deportation and deterrence. In several EU states, this has led to systematic crimes against refugees.
Fences don't stop people from escaping...
Conservatives, in particular, should not lose themselves in sham debates. The call for ever new fences against a supposedly unprotected external border unsettles the population. Fences do not stop people from fleeing. Who is eligible for protection or not, should not be decided by a barbed wire fence, but by a procedure based on the rule of law. Those who call for new fences should also explain that fences do not help EU countries to continue to receive asylum applications from people at fences. If we want to know who is coming to us, the pushbacks should stop first, because they lead to hardly anyone being registered.
Neither new fences nor the migration pact will prevent the EU states from finally taking their responsibility for a humane and orderly asylum policy seriously. Those who only call for new fences are capitulating to the real challenges of our time. Instead of raising the fight against asylum seekers to ever more inhumane levels, the EU states must finally take responsibility for the distribution of asylum seekers in Europe, for sea rescue in the Mediterranean, and for combating the causes of flight.