Tuesday, January 18

2021, the year of immigration as a weapon of massive pressure against the EU

When the USSR allowed the first Soviets to emigrate in 1971, it ensured that a respectable number of perdularios, murderers and other people of bad life left for Israel, the United States or West Germany among them. Nine years later, Fidel Castro would empty prisons and psychiatric hospitals so that his inmates could embark on the massive exodus called the 125,000 ‘marielitos‘which in the middle of the Cold War landed on enemy soil, Miami.

The instrumentalization of population movements by states against their neighbors is a classic. So much so that there is an untranslatable concept –’weaponisation ‘(Kelly Greenhill, 2010), from the English’ weapon’– that reflects the offensive intention of such a practice, endowed in the last

two decades of a deep political dimension: that of using immigration to pressure other countries in order to obtain money, concessions, indulgence, a better negotiating position. What amounts to coercion and blackmail. The European Commissioner for the Interior, Ylva Johansson, has spoken of “use of human beings in an act of aggression”. Something that fits perfectly with what in 2021 they have launched directly to the EU once again Turkey and Morocco and as a novelty Belarus, which has launched the modality not only of pushing refugees into the Union from the eastern flank, hitherto untouched by this phenomenon, but even of going to recruit them outside their own map, basically to Kurdistan.

That this multiple attack has occurred is not by chance. Europe is being a victim of itself. «These actors they are taking advantage of the EU strategy on migration policy, the main of which consists of outsourcing the management of border control, which means putting itself in the hands of third countries. In addition to the fact that the European discourse has defined immigration as a security problem, it shows you totally vulnerable, something of which these countries are perfectly aware ”, explains Professor of Political Science and International Relations Augusto Delkáder. Then extortion is served. And the path, marked since in 2008 Italy paid Muammar’s Libya to Gaddafi 5,000 million dollars to act as a retaining wall so that sub-Saharan Africans did not reach the Mediterranean, a figure that the dictator always continued to demand from Brussels in exchange for avoid a “black Europe,” he said.

Gaddafi’s path

The tactic does not fail. Ankara reached an agreement of 6,000 million in 2016 in exchange for stopping the thousands of fled Syria and Iraq. Under threat of sending them back to Greece’s doorstep, as in 2020 – “Turkey is not a motel for immigrants,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s words in August – he has forced the EU to stop criticizing his military operations in Syria. back off on a possible arms embargo, in addition to getting 3 billion more from Brussels.

In taking another good check and various privileges from the Union is also Spain, but as the defender of Rabat, which in May rehearsed an invasion of Ceuta at the snapping nearly 10,000 of his own subjects through the fence in a matter of hours. Donald Trump had recently recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara and the leader of the Polisario Front was then hospitalized in Logroño courtesy of the Pedro Sánchez government. That, do not forget, he ran to dispense with the Minister of Foreign Affairs for that of appeasing the anger of Mohamed VI, an expert in ‘weaponizing’ whatever it takes to remind Madrid who manages the immigration tap.

But Minsk is the next level, one step further. From the Elcano Royal Institute, the main researcher in the areas of Public Opinion and Migrations, Carmen González Enríquez, emphasizes that it is “a very different case: Morocco or Turkey are countries where immigration passes, but what Belarus has done is to completely manufacture a route: it has gone to the countries of origin, chartered planes, with the aim of putting pressure on the EU by sending immigrants knowing that it will reject them. Thus, if Aleksandr Lukashenko’s purpose was to shake off the sanctions and force Brussels to give him recognition, for now “he has achieved absolutely nothing”, underlines the also professor of the UNED, but he does expose very shameful seams of the Union. A considerable victory.

Repression in Europe

Belarus, explains Professor of Constitutional and Migration Law at the University of Barcelona David Moya, has awakened the drive for the security of the states, “leading them to get on the same level.” That is, in the face of the complete lack of respect for human rights in Minsk manipulating refugees, Poland turned to the iron glove. “He had to establish a state of exception that is still in progress, which limits access to the border for the press, NGOs, limits the movement of its citizens … and also applied repressive measures of hot returns”, describes the expert . It is not a unique case.

In Spain, during the Ceuta crisis, Sánchez had already reacted by repatriating minors to Morocco, “an extraordinary mechanism in the face of an extraordinary event, but one that went beyond the law,” recalls Moya, as determined by the judge who ordered an immediate stop. It should be noted that until Frontex, the European border agency, is being investigated for express expulsions in Greece and returns in the Aegean throughout 2020 and early this year.

Boosting democracies of moral superiority and the legitimacy of the rule of law to defend themselves with violence or with tricks outside the laws has much of a triumph for authoritarian regimes. They rub their hands. «That is why we must resort to smarter measures, the first of all is to act with the support of the Union (…) like a block of 500 million inhabitants “, advises the professor, who calls it a” master move “that Brussels closed ranks with Poland in word and deed, foreseeing, for example, punishments for Lukashenko’s accomplices. which was ultimately key to cutting off the importation of refugees orchestrated by Minsk. And, incidentally, to show the wayward Warsaw – the same one that, together with Hungarians, Slovaks and Czechs, implacably vetoes any kind of solidarity distribution of immigrants within the EU – that “its national sovereignty is not capable of imposing itself under pressure like those of Belarus if it is not from the backing of Brussels ». In case they were in doubt where a ‘Polexit’ would take them …

Polish forces contain the entry of refugees through Belarus – Reuters

This imperfect approach to externalization of borders, whereby the European Union pays others to do the dirty work and thus not have to build more walls, is difficult to replace. «There is no alternative», Carmen González Enríquez ditch, «opening legal avenues for immigration is only partially so, because it is true that they must be created, but that does not mean that the EU, its members, its societies, are willing to receive the entire population that would like to immigrate, either for economic reasons or as petitioners for international protection.

Regulate what comes

One suspects that ‘weaponization’ has come to stay. “We have been seeing it for 20 years and it will continue to happen cyclically, moving from one place to another across the borders, because New countries appear that know how to do it and will continue to do so», Advances Professor Augusto Delkáder.

David Moya also warns that “the conflicts that are emerging in Afghanistan, Syria or Ukraine, they will impact the EU because they will generate refugees ”, although he adds that apart from the unanimous response of the EU, to dissuade neighboring states from exploiting these flows for their own benefit, more can be done. And it is already being done.

The expert refers in particular to the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum and to the proposed regulations on extraordinary migratory situations, which he seeks “Fine-tune the intervention frameworks”: what can and cannot be done in the event of a crisis, so that there is no need to improvise. “That is a very dangerous path,” he warns, but better than not having a regulation, which will also discourage manipulation of immigration, as is expected to do the battery of trade sanctions or those provided for in the ‘European Magnitsky law’ of 2020 for violation of human rights that are already being applied. “Soft power,” they call it. Wars without an army, slower.