Imagine what would happen if the EU really did unite and cooperate with a modicum of humanitarian principle to tackle the migrant crisis?
- Refugees could be fast-tracked and distributed over the EU properly without burdening any one country.
- Asylum seekers could get a fair and consistent application process from which they would be allocated an EU country.
- Economic migrants would have a transparent and efficient mechanism to apply based on skills required in particular countries of the EU, and directed to that/those country/countries.
- Asylum application or migration applications that do not meet the agreed requirements can be properly processed for deportation to countries of origin.
- An EU border system could be implemented to protect the EU external borders whilst easing the humanitarian crisis at the borders with suitable temporary shelter during processing.
- EU-sponsored refugee and application centres could be opened in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey to stop desperate people fleeing Syria from having to pay criminals to get themselves to a European country like Greece.
- EU-sponsored refugee camps in the countries surrounding Syria could provide a safe and comfortable haven for refugees without the unfair and reprehensible burden being foisted by the West on Syria's neighbours.
Is it too hard for all 28 countries to agree to this? Let's say no for argument's sake.
So then what if just the 'leading' i.e. wealthier countries took a the principled stance?
If Germany, France, Sweden, UK, and to a lesser extent Italy and Spain took the position that they expected all EU member states to take a common approach I believe that the Balkan countries would acquiesce, particularly if the stick was combined with a carrot. After all it's not as though the wealthiest members of the EU can not afford it.
I think it is precisely because the rich countries of the EU are split that the case for a common policy and quota system for the other EU countries has been undermined.
The fault for this must surely lie with the UK and it's perpetual, petulant and knee-jerk aversion to anything that implies a compromise with the EU. But for the UK, I think combined with Germany in particular, the EU could have been whipped into shape months ago.
The consequence of this attitude in Britain is going to be a rise and further rise of nationalist parties across Europe as the pain of the unequal burden of the crisis is laid on various parts of the EU without any clear, cohesive and long term strategy.
Yet again, nationalism proves to be one of the predominant evils of our time.