The EU meets again today (after yesterday’s utter failure) in a futile attempt to solve a near impossible problem. A page from Trump’s playbook might help.
Given the incessant bickering between EU countries over migration issues, it’s time to think outside the box.
Here is the 5-Point Dilemma.
- Germany Merkel’s CDU: Seek a consensus solution under existing EU rules.
- Germany Seehofer’s CSU: Turn them back at the border (i.e. Send them back to Italy through Austria)
- Italy Five Star and the League: Change the “Dublin Rules” which state migrants must apply for asylum in the first country in which they land. Italy wants to distribute existing migrants throughout EU. It also supports “safe areas” in Africa.
- Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia: All refuse new migrants
- Austria: Austria’s Prime Minister, Sebastian Kurz, wants quotas and “safe areas” in refugees’ countries of origin. In a controversial twist, he said Brussels should organize it and “back it militarily.”
I cannot take credit for this brilliant idea, but Europe needs a wall, and Africa needs to pay for it.
Angela Merkel knows she is not going to get a refugee deal. The question is, can she sell what she will get to her sceptical sister party? Will she get a bit of extra time, enough to tide her over until after the Bavarian election? Will it enable the CSU to claim victory, or at least avoid humiliation?
We cannot rule out that the CSU falters at the last minute. But they have leaned themselves so far out of the window that a last-minute retreat would be considered a hard sell, politically. If the purpose of this exercise was to score points ahead of the Bavarian election, a retreat would be the equivalent of losing at football against South Korea.
Giuseppe Conte secured his senior team’s backing for a hard line in the Council negotiations. The Huffington Post Italia report this morning that he is going to Brussels with the determination to veto any agreement on refugees unless there is a commitment to reform the Dublin regulation.
One issue the CSU will have to explain – and hasn’t done so – is how the CSU’s plan would work in practice. [See Point Number 2 above] Austrian interior minister Herbert Kickl, a member of the FPÖ and a close ally of Salvini’s said if Germany decides to send back refugees, Austria would not take them. And we cannot see Italy taking them either. So, where would they go?
And we noted before that Italy could easily respond to Seehofer’s unilateralism by failing to register refugees. That would be a blatant violation of the Dublin regulation, but Seehofer’s position is also in breach of European rules. [See point number 3]