Europeans have long believed that they live in a safe shelter, protected from wars and conflicts in other parts of the world. The Middle East has threatened this illusion since the ancient Silk Road has been transformed into a ‘road of migrants’ which more than 680.000 refugees took to Europe this year.
The migrant crisis also threatens to break the European Union because of the deficit of the common policy coordinated by the true values of the EU which opened the door to a lot of individual initiatives that are based on the simplest solution: restrictions wrapped in barbed wire.
Hungary was the first country that started to close its borders. After passing with a mild reprimand, the Prime Minister Viktor Orban has simply persuaded others to share his way of thinking. One selfish attitude leads to another. A chain reaction was launched and now the number of the governments putting up both hypothetical and real walls are increasing – a paradigm of cynical political impotence of the EU which is successfully recruiting European anti-immigrant right-wing.
Greece raised the wall to Turkey a long time ago. Macedonia want to be protected from Greece. Serbian right-wing politician sees a solution in the wall opposite Macedonia, and Zagreb is led by the same logic, announcing a wall towards Serbia. Slovenia has joined the chain, opening the possibility of ‘physical barriers’ at the border with Croatia, and obstacles are mentioned by Austrian Foreign Minister as well.
Will the pressures of immigration cause the European Union to collapse before our eyes?
The fifth consecutive European leaders’ attempt to bring order to the chaotic situation caused by the influx of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from war, or just looking for a better life, did not eliminate many ongoing disagreements.
It started with small steps, but there is no suggestion that the EU will soon find a solution acceptable to all European countries which are the ultimate destination of the refugees, and those which due to closed borders, can be converted into buffer zones. Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov reminded of the words of Benjamin Franklin said “If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately”, but the question is whether those who were addressed heard him.
There is no co-ordination. The borders are closed and then opened which clearly shows that many countries in the region have the same goal since the beginning of the crisis: to ensure that the refugees move on as quickly as possible and pass to the territory of neighbours.
You could argue that Hatred, open racism and thinly veiled desire for refugee camps surrounded by barbed wire are becoming the moving spirit of some European politicians. EU is responsible for the launch of heavily controlled chain reaction. Selfishness of one invokes the selfishness of others. Tolerance of intolerance can be turned into a fatal error.
This situation simply begs the question, what is with that Europe of Adenauer and Schuman? What is with all the sublime ideas which have shaped the European society and unity for centuries? What about the Christian ideals embedded in European identity? Where have we lost the justice, equality, empathy?
In my opinion there are no more big European politicians; maybe Angela Merkel is one of the last. If the European Union does not do something to a common denominator urgently, it will be threatened by growing divisions and conflicts. It began with the case of Greece and ‘its creditors’, continued with the refugee crisis, but the question is now where and how it can be stopped.