Like the sun rising in the morning and Eurostat getting everything utterly wrong, one of the truisms of the EU is that it never wastes a crisis.
Sure enough, the horrors of the past few weeks in the Middle East have provided it with almost exceptional opportunities to accrue more power to the centre and from the Nations, sorry Member States.
So it is no surprise at all that the slaughter of the innocents in the deserts of Judea, has resulted in supercharging the Digital Services Act to harass and bully the major digital platforms. As reported in Brussels Signal, the Commission’s proposals mean that any but the most anodyne references to Hamas might be regarded under the new rules as “hate speech”.
Given the confusion over whether or not to cut aid to the Palestine Authority in the wake of the attacks, this appears nothing if not desperate and dangerous face saving.
The proposals coming out of the Foreign Affairs Council of expelling people – particularly asylum seekers – in a “out of one [Member State], out of all” approach, may at first appear a sensible response to recent terror attacks.
But it is also a direct assault on the ability of individual nation states to decide who they do want, or indeed who they do not want, within their borders. The proposed new expulsion rules, says the Commission, should be mandatory – no nuance, no national view, no doubts, but mandatory.
The current situation makes it almost impossible for countries to defend themselves from people that they, Interpol, and every national security service know are wrong ‘uns. The problem is that today the system is rigged in favour of asylum seekers and against law abiding citizens and the national governments that try to protect them.
So instead of weakening the power of the European Court of Human Rights, the Commission is pressuring the Council and the European Parliament to accept the idea that if one country decides that an asylum seeker is a threat, then all must.
Amongst sovereign nations this would be entirely unnecessary, but with free movement of people the policing of borders is impossible.
This produces situations like the horror show in Belgium, where the murder of the two Swedes was committed by a man, Abdeslam Lassoued, who had been imprisoned in his home country of Tunisia, was suspected of people trafficking and had radical links. Lassoued went to Sweden, where he was imprisoned for serious drug offences, and was sent not back to Tunisia – but to Italy. On appeal he was able to stay as an asylum seeker, rather than be deported back to Tunisia.
So two innocents were murdered in Belgium by someone who had been refused asylum, but disappeared. That the Belgian PM, Alexander de Croo, has said he wants to make expulsion orders “more binding” shows us the humpty dumpty world in which we all live.
Expulsion means, well right now it doesn’t mean anything. And making it compulsory that all countries in the EU abide by one country’s decision is guaranteed to fail. In part, this is a matter of basic practicalities – of the 400,000 immigrants supposedly designated for return to their home countries last year, only 60,000 in fact left.
Of the others, tens of thousands have vanished into the black economies of Europe. Some of these, like those who have come and vanished before, will go on to be terrorists and will kill innocent civilians on European streets.
But the Justice Council, instead of recognising that it is free movement itself that is the problem, has doubled down on demanding that countries take a full part in the EU’s migration pact.
They are delighted that Donald Tusk has won the Polish election, stripping Hungary of an ally against the EU’s demands of migrant burden sharing. But their smiles are freezing to their faces as the realisation that Robert Fico’s new Left-nationalist government in Slovakia has no intention of allowing possible terrorists into the country.
Again we see the problems created by the EU and its ambitions: mass migration, open borders and an activist legal zone that prioritises the interests of migrants over the settled population. These policies have yet again allowed terrorists to enter and move untroubled across the continent.
The EU’s answer is that these problems can only be solved by granting it more powers: more centralisation, a single asylum policy, a single expulsion policy and so on.
However individual nation states are behaving in a way that shows they do not trust the centre to have their citizen’s interests at heart. Ylva Johanssen, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, admitted at the Council that Schengen countries are reinstating border controls in the light of the terror threat – sending her letters to inform her that they have done so.
But she glossed it by saying that it was all being done in a Co-operative manner.