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Immigration: Frontex as the symbol of the "Powerless Europe"
Wednesday 22 April 2015
© Soazig de la Moissonnière

Given the increasing number of tragedies caused by immigration in the Mediterranean, MEP Jean Arthuis regrets that Frontex is not provided with sufficient resources.

 

Most of the European Union countries have signed the Schengen Agreement. These require the free movement of persons, goods and services within their common space.
In correlation, this Agreement implies, although we too often forget this aspect, a progressive sharing of the external borders’ management. Thus was born the European agency Frontex, intended to control this common management and to become, eventually, a European Ministry of borders, customs and immigration.

 

This was the ambition. The reality is much more stingy. Frontex budget is ridiculous: half that of the French Football Federation, representing less than 1% of the European budget. Member States refuse the sharing of this burden, leaving the Greeks, the Spanish, the Romanian, the Bulgarian and the Italian managing our common immigration border and more generous countries as Germany and Sweden hosting refugees. Yet the challenge is collective.

 

We are standing before a double absurdity. First absurdity: like the Eurozone, which for a lack of federal economic government is a headless hammer, Schengen created common European borders but there is no common management.

Second absurdity or rather hypocrisy: on one side the former Polish Prime Minister and current President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, is convening a summit on immigration, and will present a beautiful statement signed by all heads of state and government; but on the other, in ten years of existence, Poland has never given to the Frontex headquarters, based in Warsaw, the material means to exist. In terms of Europe, the Member States seem to wish the end without wanting to put the means. Here is the perfect epitome of what I would call "Powerless Europe” and not, unfortunately, "Europe Power", and "minutes of silence Europe" and not “Action Europe”.

 

The Brussels Europe is not above reproaches. In the absence of resources, institutions lose themselves in communications – the European Parliament, as I am discovering, makes more parley than legislation or control of an untraceable executive. On the question of the Frontex headquarters, I have been turned down flat by Mr Tusk.

 

Europe today is frustrating. It creates dissatisfaction among nationalists, as its essence is a federalist one, and among the neo-Marxist, as its political line is social liberal. It disappoints federalists and citizens because the results are not at the rendezvous.

Because the rulers of Nation States stick defending their turf, they contrive to sabotage the emergence of a genuine federal political power. So we have all the disadvantages of a European superstructure fundamentally administrative, without any of the advantages, fundamentally political. The Europe of Brussels is so, on immigration as on the rest, a “Powerless Europe", which enraged both Europhiles and Europhobes and whose absence of results gives tremendous advantage to the latter.

 

It is high time to cut the Gordian knot. It is simple.
Either we accept to give up the idea of a political Europe and we subtract behind our national borders, we replace the objective of the treaties of “an ever closer union between the peoples of Europe” by “every man for himself”, taking the risk that the other continent-countries put us on the side-line. After all, powerlessness and isolation are choices, timorous, resigned and dangerous choices, but sovereign choices.
Either we clearly decide to switch to a real powerful Europe: in this case, we have to be consistent by adopting, on the basis of a hard core euro area, the Constitution of the United States of Europe.

 

But we cannot longer live in an in-between that only creates dissatisfaction. Let’s open the EU treaties in public conventions. Let’s transfer to Europe, the illusory sovereign prerogatives.
 

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