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EU shifts from tolerance to border protection from migrants

October 16, 2015, 16:34 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

MOSCOW, October 16. /TASS/. The recent European Union summit in Brussels focused on protecting the bloc’s external borders from the unprecedented flow of migrants seeking refuge in Europe following destabilization in the Middle East and North Africa.

"The European Union shifts from original benevolence, followed by perplexity amid the unprecedented flow of migrants, to sobriety and actions to protect its borders," Nadezhda Arbatova, head of the European political studies department at the Institute of Global Policy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told TASS.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said earlier that Frontex, the European border agency, will be given power to return migrants to their home countries. EU leaders said they agreed on an action plan with Turkey to curtail the migrant crisis.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said the aim of the plan was to keep more than two million Syrian refugees in Turkey, where they were. However, Juncker said, the EU is "lacking 2.3 billion euros to be provided by member states" needed to resolve the crisis.

The EU summit in September ruled to allocate up to 9.2 billion euros on crisis resolution within two years and approved the proposal to distribute 120,000 migrants between EU member states. Meanwhile, The Times reported that the EU was planning to deport 400,000 migrants in the near future.

According to Arbatova, money will not resolve the refugee crisis in Europe. Some 1.5 million refugees are expected to arrive in Germany alone by the end of 2015.

"The EU has had no common comprehensive programme of migrant integration into European life," she said. "The concept of multiculturalism implied separate peaceful coexistence of different cultures, first of all Christian and Muslim, which was absolutely impossible as these cultures are undergoing different stages of development."

"Granting citizenship was previously considered a sufficient condition for the socialisation of migrants. However, terrorist attacks in the UK were committed by British citizens, while nationals of some EU countries are members of criminal organisations helping migrants to reach Europe," the expert said. "Citizenship is no panacea. The ongoing migration crisis has set an urgent task of developing a strategy of migrant integration and socialisation, which should start at kindergartens and schools."

Commenting on massive anti-migrant protests in Europe, Arbatova said that "European tolerance ends there where values of individual freedom are being denied."

"Muslim communities, which grow due to the flow of migrants, cannot put up in principle with western culture and European freedoms such as emancipation and same-sex marriages," she added. "The incompatible mentalities lead to growing xenophobia and nationalism in EU countries, she added.

"Ring-wing populist politicians and parties are now triumphantly marching across Europe," the expert said. "Calls for returning to ‘real national values’ as an alternative of united Europe are getting louder. In other words, the current crisis is a new test of the European Union’s strength."

"The resolution of conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa is a necessary but not the only condition to curtail the flow of migrants to Europe," Arbatova said. "In addition to regional conflicts, other reasons for migration are over-population of some areas in the south Mediterranean, the lack of resources, including drinking water, and failed statehoods. Therefore, the international community needs a global agenda to resolve the whole range of problems linked to migration."

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