Saturday, June 22, 2002
Europe and Immigration

Immigration and Enlargement were the two reported themes of the summit in Seville and the resulting press release of measures to be undertaken was either a triumph, a fudge or a failure depending upon the country and the leader you are listening to.

No European Immigration and Naturalisation Service which counts as a plus. No economic sanctions on countries that do not co-operate with the EU (allowing Blair to be portrayed as getting tough on those who wish to better themselves by swimming to Rimini, Sicily or wintering in Latvia before heading west).

However, the summit did agree to link financial assistance to the willingness of Third World countries to accept the repatriation of their citizens. This measure was designed to hurt "people smugglers" and the illegal trade in migrants by ensuring that the migrants who have paid good money to be smuggled are promptly deported.

How it undermines this illegal trade was not detailed, although the governments of countries that displace their population, are usually corrupt and foundering in war. They might prefer to sup from a western teat (easier to hoodwink - ask the Palestinians) than take handouts from the criminal gangs but they will probably profit from both sides.

Less financial assistance means that the good such aid may do, after being filtered through the nets of corruption and bureaucracy, is lessened - and that gives even more incentive to the immiserised inhabitants of these regions to emigrate. As their lives are so hopeless, they still consider the risks of travel, death and deportation to be worthwhile in comparison to their normal existence. The EU has not examined the economic causes of migration and endeavoured the ameliorate these to lessen the movement of economic migrants.

The quickest way to stem the flow of migrants in the short term would be to overthrow the CAP and ensure that the major exports from Third World countries have a zero tariff. Then they would have the opportunity to earn an increased standard of living through trade, an opportunity denied many of them through the burdens imposed by the West.

The UK Is not able to implement any of these proposals. However, as we don't belong to the Schengen group, why do we require a European immigration policy? We are an island, with the unique problem of being a Mecca for all those who speak English, as well as for many who don't. Is it not practical to follow our own policy independent of Europe that allows entry to the skilled workers that we require and deters others?

Green cards and INS, anyone.


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