Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, gave his ‘State of the Union’ (SOTU) address this morning and outlined his vision for the future of the European Union; an address totally dominated by the movement of people and the requirement as he sees it for ‘more Europe’.
His delivery may have been rather flat but the content was far-reaching. Mr Juncker announced that he wanted not just a refugee quota system within the EU, but also a ‘renewed approach’ to legal migration was needed requiring a revision of the ’blue card’ system – a common EU-wide immigration system for potential workers from outside the EU. What we need he said was a ‘comprehensive European agenda’ on migration.
He also said that the asylum crisis would stretch on with the EU having to do more to take refugees, raising the prospect of the scrapping of the requirement under the Dublin agreement for claiming asylum in the first safe country. This would transform the EU into one state as far as asylum seekers were concerned so allowing them to pick in which member country they claimed asylum.
And while there is talk of effectively tearing down nation states borders within the EU there will be a push to create an EU coastguard and border guard system. A further step towards making the EU a nation-state in its own right.
In response Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, said:
“Thank you. Mr Juncker you've simply got this wrong.
“As I warned you in April, the European Common Asylum Policy sets its terms so wide that to say that anyone who sets a foot on EU soil can stay, I said it would lead to a flow of biblical proportions and indeed that is what we are beginning to see and that's been compounded by Germany last week saying that basically anyone can come. It is a bit too late now to draw up a list of countries from whom can stay and can't stay. All they have to do, as they're doing, is to throw their passports in the Mediterranean and say they're coming from Syria. As we know the majority of people that are coming and the Slovak Prime Minister has been honest enough to say so, the majority that are coming are economic migrants.
“In addition we see as I warned earlier evidence that ISIS are now using this route to put their jihadists on European soil. We must be mad to take this risk with the cohesion of our societies. If we want to help genuine refugees, if we want to protect our societies, if we want to stop the criminal trafficking gangs from benefitting as they are, we must stop the boats coming as the Australians did and then we can assess who qualifies for refugee status.
“I noted your comments because there is a referendum coming in the United Kingdom. I look forward to seeing you in the UK, I know you intend to spend tens of millions of pounds of British tax payers money telling us what we should think. I have a feeling that the British people will warm to you on a personal level but to suggest that getting rid of a few EU regulations is going to change our minds, sorry unless you give Mr Cameron back control and discretion over our borders the Brits will over the course of the next year, vote to leave.”
The EU Commission has announced a seven part refugee crisis plan:
A proposal for the emergency relocation of 120,000 refugees currently in Greece, Hungary and Italy
A Permanent Relocation Mechanism for all Member States
A common European list of Safe Countries of Origin
A common Return Handbook and an EU Action Plan on Return
Communication on Public Procurement rules for Refugee Support Measures
Addressing the external dimension of the refugee crisis
Trust Fund for Africa of €1.8 billion “for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration in Africa”.
Such moves will, of course, remove any control individual members states have over asylum seekers and migration and give that power to Brussels.