The craziest idea yet was ventilated yesterday by our Defence Minister, Michael Fallon. It’s farcical at several different levels. Does he think that the countries along the north African coast are going to agree to the EU building . . . refugee camps there? Well . . . they might . . . at a fee. How much would that be? Several billion euros at least. And how would the cost be allocated between the 28 countries of the EU? Especially when it’s only the northern countries that the immigrants head for — those with jobs or, failing those — but very much in their minds even if never mentioned — state welfare benefits which, relative to their original condition, are overwhelmingly generous.
Even if it were possible how would it work? Would the EU continue to save the boatloads of people crossing the Mediterranean and then air-freight them back to north Africa? Ah! but the boatloads would stop, so Fallon and his fellow proponents would say. Ah! but they wouldn’t, suggest I. The momentum behind the immigrant push into Europe is already far too great and runs back deeply into Africa, Middle East and Asia. They still have faith that the middle-class ‘humanitarians’ among the European populations, particularly those in the north, will continue to prevail.
The EU was brutal enough to erect tariff barriers against food imports from the Carribean countries and African countries when it could be done silently, and from a distance, with only a very few aware of it. But it’s not brutal enough when it comes to quite simply stopping the migrants’ boats setting out across the Mediterranean in the first place. They’ll have to get round to it sooner or later. But the question is — the EU has already been ruptured by the Greek crisis, how much deeper will the ruptures develop?
The more I write on this subject, the more I’m aware that I could be called a right-wing fascist by those on the left. I’m simply being rational. The EU was an insifficiently thought-through proposition in the first place and almost everything that has happened since its formation has been a succession of problem each one bigger than the previous one.