I started working with refugees one year and a half ago: first in Italy, then in Belgium and now in Italy again. Sometimes I asked myself what people from outside EU think about what is happening inside, what is the show that European governments are offering to the world. I think they are offering a shameful and disgusting show. All of them, no one excepted.
The eastern Europe countries are closing their borders to people escaping from Syria, Afghanistan and in general from the East: Slovakia, Czeck Republic, Poland and Hungary are coalized in this battle against Brussels, that is asking for solidarity and for sharing the migrants between the EU countries. They want to preserve their christian identity, that’s what they are saying, menaced by all these Muslims coming from the East. It’s surprising to hear this kind of words from people who, after 1989, left their poor, eastern countries to go to the rich, western countries. How many Polish people moved to Germany after 1989? How much did the EU helped those countries at all levels (especially at the economical one….) to became member states ? Maybe they forgot their recent past if they are managing this strong opposition to any kind of mediation, dialogue, compromise and simple help to the immigrants and to the other EU countries which are facing this problem since many years (Italy, Greece). They are building walls, but they don’t remember when they were fighting to destroy THE wall that represented for them the obstacle for a better life.
France has started controlling the borders with Italy and now “starts reconnaissance flights with a view to launching attacks” (bbc.com). Great Britain has always followed its own “private policy”: no Schengen, no Dublin agreement, no Euro, no European Court of Human Rights. Migrants are pushing in Calais to pass the Channel Tunnel and many of them die inside the tunnel or on the sea? No problem, more money to the French police to control better the French side of the tunnel with modern radars.
Germany has chosen the people they want: only the Syrians, they are educated, they speak english and they deserve a place in Europe more than the others because they are escaping from the war. Germany has opened the doors only to them, Germany has chosen the best people like we do when we are making shopping at the market and we choose the best apple between 50 different types of apple: the most red one, the biggest one, the organic one. But after a few days the country has discovered that too many Syrians, happy for being chosed, were knocking at the border and Angela has changed her mind. Border controlled again.
Where is Europe in all this mess? Europe is not here, sorry. Europe is somewhere else. Europe has never been here when there is a political problem and this is a political problem, a problem which concerns the all continent. But we are not a political power. Since the 1951, the year of the European Coal and Steel Community, we are showing to the world that we are an economical power and in fact the EU or former name was European Economical Community, but we have always avoided to start talking about becoming a political community. It’s like we have always said “Ok, we are an economical power, if we stay all together we become a great market so let’s concentrate on it and forget the rest” For many years, during the Cold War, this attitude has worked well because the world was divided in two parts and it was these two parts that were deciding about the political matters of the world. But now the situation has changed, there are not only two super powers anymore so it’s time for Europe to grow up. But we don’t want because the member states don’t want to take this step and let a bit of their international power to the EU: the countries don’t want to create a European foreign policy because they are scared to lose their importance in the international relations. In this moment every single country has its own “strategy” to face the crisis and it’s like a global “bellum omnium contra omnes”, like the Romans used to say.
If we want to face this crisis (and the future ones) in a political and unique way we have to do only one thing: change the treaties which are on the base of the Union because the Lisbon Treaty sais “The common foreign and security policy is subject to specific rules and procedures. It shall be defined and implemented by the European Council and the Council acting unanimously, except where the Treaties provide otherwise. The adoption of legislative acts shall be excluded. The common foreign and security policy shall be put into effect by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and by Member States, in accordance with the Treaties. The specific role of the European Parliament and of the Commission in this area is defined by the Treaties. The Court of Justice of the European Union shall not have jurisdiction with respect to these provisions, with the exception of its jurisdiction to monitor compliance with Article 25b of this Treaty and to review the legality of certain decisions as provided for by the second paragraph of Article 240a of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. “ (art.10 C). Acting unanimously, the role of the Parliament of the Commission defined by the Treaties. No, it can not work this way. Refugees are pushing, Italy and Greece are collapsing, non-Eu Balkan countries are getting nervous because they are paying for EU unsuitability. We need a different answer and this crisis can perhaps offer an opportunity to Europe to decide where it wants to go: if it wants finally grow up or if it wants just survive floating in mediocrity and chained in a thousand of mutual vetoes and national self-interests. It’s time to choose what we want to do when we grow up: personally I’d like to ask first to the United Kingdom and the Eastern countries and learn something more about their idea of Europe. If they have one.