Schengen: Orban’s reelection weakens Europe


Comforted by his election victory, Viktor Orban there is no reason to offer the Europeans any concessions on the migration issue. Like his Polish neighbor, he refused in 2016 to welcome Hungary the slightest asylum seeker when the European Council put in place an interim solution of “compulsory distribution”, so as to relieve the pressure exerted on the Italy and the Greece . The peak of the crisis – 1.3 million asylum applications Europe in 2015 and 1.2 million the following year – seems to have passed, but the pressure remains considerable with 705 000 asylum applications registered with the 28 countries of the European Union in 2017, according to Eurostat .
The re-election of Orban singularly complicates the ongoing renegotiation of the European asylum rules to the point of weakening the heart of the Union’s solidarity pact. This renegotiation is expected to lead in June to the adoption of a Dublin IV regulation, improving the efficiency of the operation of the Schengen area. The European Union does not intend to be permissive, on the contrary. Through Dublin IV, the aim is to reinforce the rules that avoid “asylum à la carte”, namely to prevent asylum seekers from freely choosing their host country or applying in several Member States at the same time. However, the initial examination of the asylum application would continue in the country of the first application. And this is why Italy and Greece need to be seriously supported by staff reinforcement.

Is Turkey a “safe country”?

The Commission also proposes to better identify “inadmissible and unfounded” applications in order to make removal measures more effective. Until then, no problem with Orban. An asylum seeker from a country considered “safe” (whether from a European country or a third country) could be returned more quickly. Should Turkey be included in the list of “safe countries”? In European countries, not everyone is convinced that the regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan deviated from the rule of law and public freedoms …
But the most difficult point remains the “sharing” of migratory pressure in the event of a crisis. The Commission has put back on the table of discussion a mechanism for the distribution of asylum seekers in cases where the pressure is exerted too much on a Member State. It is therefore a question of perpetuating the provisional mechanism designed at the time of the crisis. Viktor Orban is furiously against and accuses Brussels of playing the game of “forces” that would have the project to “break Hungary that stands on the path of migrants”. “The young people of Western Europe will experience becoming a minority in their own country and will lose the only place in the world that they could consider their homeland,” he proclaimed in March on the occasion of the 170th anniversary of the Hungarian revolution of 1848.

Tusk admits that mandatory quotas are “ineffective”

A speech that ruffles the highest point Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Commissioner in charge of migration issues, for whom immigration must be managed jointly in times of crisis. “It is unacceptable that countries of the European Union refuse to participate in the reception of asylum seekers,” he said last January. Hungary lost its legal action in September 2017 against the decision to introduce provisional “quotas”. Then the Commission has engaged an action before the CJEU against Hungary , Slovakia, and against Poland a lawsuit for breach of their obligation of solidarity and non-compliance with the rules of the European Union. On such a political subject, the litigation, in truth, will not be settled in the courts.
Orban if he is the loudest , is not alone in protesting. Even Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, has aligned himself with Orban’s position by ” presentation Which emphasized that “mandatory quotas” were “ineffective” and had received “disproportionate publicity” in view of their real impact on the ground. Tusk is not completely wrong on this last point. The relocation of asylum seekers the number of people involved is small (a total of 33,846), or even ridiculous: as of March 7, 2018, the Federal Republic of Germany had agreed to relocate 10,282 asylum seekers, France, 4,944 (or 0.07% of its total population). Countries like Switzerland (1,493 people), Norway (1,509 people) or Liechtenstein (10 people), who are not part of the European Union, also participated in the effort as members of the Schengen area. In the East, Bulgaria has accepted 60 people, Slovakia, 16 … It can not be said that the Commission has really sought to “break” the ethnic balance of these countries.

Will Italy continue to pay for Orban?

If the Eastern European countries do not play the game in times of crisis, Italy, which is a net contributor to the Union budget, can initiate retaliation and refuse to participate in the various support funds that benefit. to the least developed countries, and particularly to the East. The negotiation of the future European budgetary framework is inseparable from the thorny cleavage on the migratory question … Why, indeed, should solidarity only play in the West-East direction, exempting Hungary and Poland from any solidarity in Europe? return? As a reminder, Poland is expected to receive € 76 billion in Structural Funds over the 2014-2020 period and Hungary, € 25.74 billion … The recent Italian election focused on the concern over migration flows . If Europe does not provide an answer to this problem, the next Italian government – whatever it may be – risks drawing the consequences. It is the European pact that risks being severely shaken if everyone falls back on national solutions. Without solidarity, no future for the EU …
In the meantime, the consensus is far from being reached. Some German officials, contacted by Point recognize, anonymously, that the Dublin IV reform proposed by the Commission is still skeptical. “We want to force asylum seekers to settle in this or that country, but as soon as they are installed, they will not remain in place and will join the country that suits them best within the Schengen area. It is illusory to want to fix them where they do not want to live. For some, the priority is to prevent, by increased means, economic migrants (unlike Syrians fleeing war) from applying for asylum. Europe saved 285 000 migrants from the Mediterranean waters between February 2016 and 2017. “If it is a European boat that repels them, economic migrants have the right to apply, because on the boat they are considered by jurisprudence as being in Europe, notes a German EPP executive. They should not be fished by European boats, but by boats from the countries of origin. Which, moreover, would remain an immense challenge …

Hardening in the CDU-CSU

In the CDU-SPD coalition government, tensions were quick to emerge on the migration issue. Especially after the booming declaration of Germany’s new interior minister Horst Seehofer (CSU), who considers that “Islam is not part of Germany”. “He contradicted the Chancellor, but, above all, he made the same shift as the far-right party AfD, by shifting the subject of migration control to the rejection of Islam,” says, sorry, a friend of the Chancellor . The proximity of the elections in Bavaria, where the AfD has made a breakthrough, does not explain everything. Part of the right wing of the CDU-CSU is clearly turning away from Chancellor Merkel’s policy on migrants and advocating a firmness that is at least partly consistent with Orban’s thesis.
In the coalition contract between the CDU and the SPD, the migration issue is briefly discussed. It says that the EU “must assume its humanitarian responsibility and, at the same time, better organize and manage migration”. But the “GroKo” insists on a more global approach that consists in fighting “against the causes of flight”. It is in this sense that Germany envisages an expanded “cooperation” with Africa “at all levels”. The CDU and the SPD are in favor of a “Marshall Plan for Africa to help the African Union implement the Agenda 2063 [a prosperous Africa based on sustainable development, Ed].
To be effective, you will need money. Europe’s efforts so far are not up to the challenges. The EU Trust Fund for Africa was supplemented by € 2.5 billion for the Sahel, Lake Chad, Horn of Africa and North Africa. On 14 March, the Commission reported that “more than one billion euros were needed to finance the important work ahead”. In the negotiations planned on the European budget, the big countries – including Germany – will be tempted to reallocate some of the cohesion funds that benefit the East towards the protection of the southern borders of Europe. Viktor Orban may have won a round – the refusal of compulsory quotas in case of crisis – but he will have to do without a part of the subsidies of the EU … We can not win on all the charts.


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