Having just driven up the deserted M20 listening to a radio phone in about the migrant situation in Calais, the presenter asked a rhetorical question: why can’t the EU do more about the migrant situation?
I say it’s rhetorical as it is the EU that has contributed to the situation and it is only a very few MEPs that want to stem the flow at the source and within its own borders.
I sit on the LIBE committee, the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, that has immigration as part of its remit. I say ‘sit’ as at present I am being blocked from taking a full seat on the committee as the EU is trying to be as obstreperous as possible to frustrate my new group, the Europe of Nations and Freedom, having further representation.
By way of background, I took a substitute seat on this committee as another Ukip MEP occupied the main representative slot and the group had to allow representation from other MEPs in the parliamentary group. That meant one seat from the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (in which Ukip sits) had to go to the Swedish Democrats and two seats to the Italian Five Star movement, four seats in all. The Swede, Ms Winberg, is brilliant.
My group, the ENF, already had three representatives when they sat as non-iscrits (non attached to any political grouping), representing Italy, Austria and the Netherlands. Now that we have eight nations (one more than the EFDD group in which Ukip sits) and have 38 MEPs, the ENF believes I am entitled to a full seat and that the group should have more representatives.
The noun ‘solidarity’ is one of the most used and abused word in the EU. However, my MEP colleagues, the Commission and Council, do not like to apply the term to the ENF group and are abusing their power to stop me taking my seat on the LIBE committee.
This is important for two reasons. One, at this tipping point in migratory history, those of us who wish to take back our borders, abolish Shengen and control immigration are being thwarted on the very committee that can represent the vast majority of British (and indeed European) thinking on this issue. And, secondly, the EU institutions are not practising what they preach in solidarity terms and are effectively blocking democracy on committees because our views do not suit their agenda.
I remember sitting in committee debating the ‘abhorrent’ attitude of the eastern European countries in their tardiness for not implementing gay marriage. A rather reasonable Pole said that they needed a longer transition period as they had just emerged from communism and that they were a deeply Catholic block of countries.
A Swedish liberal/green turned her venom on him and said that it sickens her to sit in the same room as this disgusting man, breathing the same air as him with his vile views. She said this whilst visibly shaking, not from nerves but abhorrence.
Ukip’s allies in the Five Star Movement would like to see ‘humanitarian corridors’ from Africa through to Europe for people leaving Africa for a better life. They join the calls from other liberals and greens across the committee.
The Five Star MEPs were very pleased with themselves a few months ago when the newly appointed Greek commissioner for immigration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, addressed the committee. A former defence minister in the conservative, New Democracy party, Avramopoulos, was last year the first appointed commissioner with responsibility for immigration. Confronting him, the Five Star movement MEPs tore into him claiming that as defence minister he presided over the building of a fence between Turkey and Greece to stem migrant flows. They also brandished a document showing the commissioner waving a gun at the border.
Ironic then isn’t it that now Mr Avramopoulos denigrates another EU country, Hungary, for …. erecting its own borders to keep migrants out.
Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, commissioned fencing on his borders with Serbia, where they are seeing 1000 migrants every day pass through the porous borders. He has taken the ingenious decision to get prison inmates to manufacture the fences and may even use them to erect them. (Note to British justice minister – there’s an idea for prison productivity/reparation?).
Mr Avramopoulos decided to castigate Mr Orban’s centre right government, or, depending on who is writing up the media story, ‘Orban’s populist government’, by issuing a statement via his spokesperson saying, “We have only recently taken down walls in Europe; we should not be putting them up.”
So, readers, there lies the problem. A conservative government in power shores up its borders with a non-EU country to stem the tide of immigrants, even though the vast majority of immigrants do not wish to settle in Hungary, he is being neighbourly, showing solidarity with his European partners, by defending Europe’s borders.
Mr Avramopoulous in the meantime, speaks with a forked tongue, don’t do as I do, sir, just do as I tell you.
And the Italian Five Star movement? They need to give up one of their seats to me as I do not think they are acting on behalf of their electorate and there are not enough MEPs with views in tune with the British public’s attitude on Europe and immigration. Oh, the Conservative party, has got Timothy Kirkhope representing them. He’s known amongst his own MEPs as No Hope Kirkhope.