by Daniel Pipes
As Europe comes increasingly under siege by asylum-seekers, refugees, economic migrants, jihadists, and others, it inevitably will put up walls, create military forces, and in other ways hunker down. One key development in this process is being revealed today by Franco Frattini, the European Union's justice commissioner. Called the European Maritime Border Guard Corps, it will be a EU-wide funded and staffed force in the Mediterranean Sea to hold back the flow of Africans. If EU governments accept Frattini's plan, the corps could start work in early 2006. Its two main missions will be to detect boats leaving African ports via satellites and rescue ships in distress. Immigrants picked up at sea will be transported to European ports, processed in a fast-track asylum procedure, and those rejected summarily deported. Frattini sees in this maritime force a step toward creating a European Land Border Guard Corps.
Comment: I predicted in 2001 that the military response by the Australian authorities to illegal immigration was "the start of a trend." Expect to see much, much more along these lines as the West protects its patrimony. (November 27, 2005)
June 11, 2006 update: For an apocalyptic vision of Europe in a decade, listen to the UK's Rear Admiral Chris Parry. Warning that Europe could be "like the 5th-century Roman empire facing the Goths and the Vandals,"
Comment: It's interesting to recall that another British leader, Enoch Powell, in 1968 gave his famous "Rivers of Blood" speech, in which he predicted that immigration to the United Kingdom would lead to problems: "As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood'." This speech aborted Powell's political career. Today, far more detailed scenarios raise hardly a murmur.
Aug. 14, 2006 update: When writing the above about Europe inevitably putting up walls, I was thinking of the external kind, such as those that have gone up surrounding Ceuta and Melilla, and not internal walls between parts of a city. But at least one of the latter now exists, in the fabled Italian city of Padua, blocking the 273 apartments spread out over six blocks of the Serenissima development project, with its many immigrants, from the rest of the city, population 210,000.
Of particular note: the mayor who constructed this wall around the so-called Padua Bronx, Flavio Zanonato, belongs to the "Democrats of the Left" (Italian: Democratici di Sinistra) party, the renamed Communist party. In contrast, the right-wing Northern League party called for the city to "raze the casbah of foreign delinquency to the ground." It will get its way, as three of the Serenissima's apartment blocks are already emptied of tenants and sealed, with current plans calling for everyone else to move out within two years.
Nov. 11, 2010 update: Europeans are battening down the hatches in the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla, and Malta – only to find a new entry point in Greece. Edward Cody reports from Nea Vissa for the Washington Post.
(Click here for a Google map of the area.) The numbers are daunting:
Ankara has not proven cooperative; it
As usual, catching the illegals is a temporary palliative:
And even if the Greek-Turkish border can be closed, it hardly does any good:
Jan. 1, 2011 update: Closing the border may not help, but the Greeks plan to do this anyway, says Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis. "Greek society has reached its limits in taking in illegal immigrants. Greece can't take it anymore. "Cooperation with the other EU states is going well. Now we plan to construct a fence to deal with illegal migration." He compared the barrier to the American one along parts of the border with Mexico.
Jan. 18, 2011 update: Another report from the Greek-Turkish border, this one in The Wall Street Journal, "Refugees Stir Greek Anger," by Marc Champion and Alkman Granitsas, reporting from the Greek border town of Orestiada:
Under AKP leadership, Ankara "has signed visa-free travel agreements with Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Jordan, among others. Citizens of many other countries, including Iraq, can buy visas at the border." This openness "has helped unleash a flood of illegal immigrants into the European Union, border officials here said Monday. The main conduit is just outside this unassuming Greek town near Turkey's border, where fields of garlic and brush form the only dry-land border between Greece and Turkey."
That border offers a unique combination: "the Schengen area abuts another open-travel zone, the informal visa-free zone developing in the East, around Turkey." It's much safer and cheaper than going by sea. Frontex estimates that 90 percent of all detections of illegal crossings into the European Union take place in Greece. The government plans to build a fence.
Jan. 31, 2011 update: A further report from Orestiada in the New York Times: "Greece Tries to Stem Immigrant Flow From Turkey."
Feb. 6, 2012 update: A year later, work will finally begin at Orestiada:
July 14, 2012 update: The New York Times ran an excellent series today of 14 pictures on "Greece's Porous Border, a Back Door to Europe."
July 30, 2012 update: With Syrian refuges now added to the existing mix, the broke Greek government found the money to quadruple the number of its guards at the border with Turkey, from 600 to 2,400, and to build 26 floating barriers will be placed along the Evros River.
Dec. 17, 2012 update: The Greek government has completed a €3 million, 10.5 km two-layer fence topped with barbed wire on the Turkish border at the Evros River to keep out illegal immigrants. Media reports suggest the fence has reduced crossings at Evros by 95 percent – prompting efforts to reach Greece via sea routes to the country's many islands.
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