I enjoy reading the morning papers in a cafeteria with a hot drink, preferably coffee.
The last few weeks the overwhelming number of pages where about the migrants crisis, the inevitable invasion, and who is to blame: the war, the countries who started the war, the countries who are not willing to accept not even a minimal number of refugees or those ones who are not able to properly patrol the common borders?
This is where it gets intricate…
The US, the UK and France, countries with an history of, “exporting democracy”, even if with a different level of reluctance, praised unconditionally the Arab Spring on the southern border of the Mediterranean sea. And when the bloodbath started did not hesitate to take part in forcefully removing tyrants and dictators. At the time both, the British and French leaders were pretty low in the opinion polls, therefore being tough with thugs such as Ghaddafi and Mubarak looked a very good idea. Unfortunately the results did not match the expectations. In Tunisia there is now a very weak but democratic government; in Syria mr Assad , who has powerful friends, such as Russia and Iran, is still there, but half of his country is now part of the Islamic state; in Egypt, the democratically elected Islamic government has been toppled by a military coup, and all the exporters of democracy hurried up to shake hands with the new president Al Sisi (I cannot remember he was elected !); in Libya, where apparently Ghaddafi did not make many friends , we have a total chaos, with the country split in three parts, one being a self proclaimed member of the Islamic state.
The final effect is dozens of millions of people displaced from their homes, trapped under bombing from Mr Assad, the Isis, or the often not so “surgical” western countries antiterrorist coalition. No surprise if they run for their life toward the only possible escape: Europe.
Now it is when it gets even more complicated…
Most of these people arrive, when they do not sink aboard of incredibly crappy boats, on the coast of Italy and Greece, two countries not exactly with flourishing economies, in number of hundreds of thousands, and become rapidly unmanageable.
When those country appeal to the EU solidarity, as it happened for the Greek financial crisis, the reply is : it is none of our business.
The toughest guys in the bunch being the UK, France, Germany, Austria and the ex soviet union block. All countries with a problem of growing Euroscepticism and far right protest. Funnily enough Mr Cameron promised to put a cap on immigration to UK from the other EU members, essentially the east European nations that are backing him in his hard line approach on extra European immigrants.
The Italian and Greek response is dodgy, pragmatic and predictable: according to the Dublin Treaty, they should, at their own expenses, find out where those migrants are from, offer asylum to those ones who are entitled, and deport the rest. What practically happens is that they offer an initial basic support and then wait for those people to disappear, continuing their journey towards Germany, France, the UK or Scandinavia.
In a matter of weeks the pressure starts to mount on the French and Austrian borders, the Calais port and the Eurotunnel, the Hungarian and Greek borders. It is suddenly clear that, one way or the other, the problem is going to affect everybody.
And here is where we are now. The well known series of European leaders meeting is about to start:
God help us all.