Remember all those news stories about British businesses forced to the wall by EU rules? There are the agricultural firms we no longer have because some regulation or other required spending well beyond profits just to comply. Kent fishermen who I know and back can relate chapter and verse on how EU rules not only impoverish the industry but thwart conservation efforts. And the list goes on and on. Name an area of British life, and it will turn out to be riddled with EU rules we are told we have no choice but to follow.
All these rules, it is endlessly said, have the status of law. We don’t get a choice on whether or not to implement them to the letter in full. The rules of the club are the same for everyone and rules is rules.
Except, it turns out, if you are Angela Merkel. Let me explain.
Europe has long had the rule, under the Dublin Convention I’ve been highlighting for some time, that asylum seekers are to be processed in the first country to which they arrive. This means that if an asylum seeker pitches up in Sicily, there is no good reason why he should travel to Calais in the first place. Under the rules, his only option if he wants to lodge an asylum claim is to have done so on arrival.
Neither Italy nor France have been much minded to apply the rules as they stand – preferring to wave new thousands towards Britain by the week – but neither has been quite so brazen as to admit this openly. The policy, however dishonest, has been one of a blind eye to the rule book, the better to suit themselves.
Angela Merkel has now gone much further. And because she is Angela Merkel nobody bats an eyelid. Yet we should.
She has announced that the policy of asylum applications in the first country of arrival is no longer to be applied by her government in Germany. They no longer ask questions about whether or not the migrant even has the legal right to lodge an application there in the first place. As far as she is concerned, she is going to give whatever instruction she likes to her immigration officials and never mind that it breaks the rules of the EU club.
This from the woman who has insisted that Britain has no room for manoeuvre on EU migration laws! That rules are to be followed literally, on the subject of migration most particularly….
The hypocrisy is stark. But so too are the consequences for us here in the UK. Germany’s decision means that countless more migrants will make their way to this country. Because of Chancellor Merkel’s decision, innumerable migrants accepted into Germany after approved applications will have as much right to move here – entirely legally – as all other EU citizens.
Think about that for a bit and it puts the immigration issues of recent years into a new perspective.
And is there anything we can do about it while part of the EU?
After all, rules is rules.