EU migrant “children” syndrome

Anna van Densky OPINON German government appeals for compassion of Europeans, calling for creation of coalition of willing to shelter “children” from Greek migrant camps. However similar to the situation of the previous wave on migrants in 2015 there is no criteria of determining age of an individual, claiming to be a child.

The overwhelming majority of migrants and their children have no birth certificate not because they have lost it, or, as some sceptics presume, they have thrown documents away, but because there is no established practice of population registry in their countries of origin. Subsequently their birth certificates or passports have been never issued in first place, and while arriving to Europe they are not passing any procedures to determine their physical age.

For obvious reasons the parents are interested to present information, helping their children and themselves to leave the camps as soon as possible for more comfortable locations. Nowadays in total absence of medical checks, any narrative can pass as Europeans have discovered, when the Swedish social worker Alexandra Mezher, 22, was stabbed to death in ‘child‘ refugee centre, by a Somalianminor“, who in the cause of prosecution has been identified as an adult.

The victim complained to her family that being a professional in child care she is confronted with the situation of being a guardian of “big powerful guys aged up to 24“.

However they are not only security reasons which are completely neglected by the EU-member states Interior ministries, but the whole set of socially meaningful consequences, deriving from a natural migrant impulse to diminish the age of a child: it will not only allow to benefit longer from allocation of children alimony, but also impact the future of the family, allowing them to reunite on European soil.

The plan set by Angela Merkel to help a group of 1,000 – 1,500 children identified as being “particularly in need“, transferring them from Greek camps to the EU will also open gates for their parents and other underaged siblings to come to Europe.

The decision of sheltering unaccompanied children under the age of 14 or
children in need of urgent medical assistance in accordance with Merkel plan will provoke further abuse of children as “keys” to enter the EU.

Meanwhile the Dutch government made public its position indicating to absence of any plans to host migrant children from Greek camps to the Netherlands. However the goverment is prepared to contribute to initiatives to improve the situation in the camps, Prime minister Mark Rutte said on March 6.

The decision is based in lack of enthusiasm the proposal met in the parliament last week when the four coalition partners plus far right and Christian parties voted against a motion which would have committed the Netherlands to accepting migrant children.

Dutch refugee NGOs have called on local authorities to ‘show leadership and generosity’ by bringing 500 “refugee children” from Greece to the Netherlands because they are currently living in appalling conditions.

However there was some response on the municipality level: the city of Leiden was first to express readiness to accept some of the children – around 25 according to Dutch broadcaster NOS.

We are talking about children whose parents have died or are missing and who are living on Lesbos in terrible conditions,’ mayor Henri Lenferink said on the same day of March 6. ‘Leiden has always been a city of refugees and I am fully confident we will be able to look after these children properly.’ Greece asked EU countries to take in 2,500 children last October.

Turkey currently hosts over four million migrants, many of whom are claiming refugee status, and the EU is committed to assist Ankara in dealing with this challenge. The EU
Facility for Refugees in Turkey is committed to assist Turkey in dealing with this challenge. The EU Facility for Refugees Turkey, managing a total of two tranches provides for a joint coordination mechanism, designed to ensure that the needs of refugees and host communities. Apparently the President Erdogan finds the pledged funds of
EUR6 billion insufficient.

Juncker versus Italian corruption

Anna van Densky. OPINION. This week Brussels institutional  freedom of speech reached a new low, when the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has been confronted with the demands of withdrawing his comments on corruption in Italy.  During a public  exchange of views, the top EU executive referred to corruption and insufficient efforts as  the key obstacles,  blocking the development of the poorest regions in the south of Apennines peninsula.

Italians have to take care of the poor regions of Italy. That means more work; less corruption; seriousness,” Juncker said. “We will help them as we always did. But don’t play this game of loading with responsibility the EU. A country is a country, a nation is a nation. Countries first, Europe second”. These words caused the whirlwind of emotions from newly endorsed vice-prime minister Matteo Salvini, numerous political personalities, and even the president of the European Parliament (from Italian origin) Antonio Tajani, – all of them indignant about Juncker referring to the well-established facts. Yes, objectively speaking, there is a huge problem of corruption in Italy,  regarded as plague first of all by the Italians themselves.

According to the official statistics corruption, including political one, remains a major challenge, particularly in southern Italy, affecting Calabria, Campina, and Sicily, where citizens suffer from its consequences at most.  Transparency International   annual reports indicate Italy has been consistently assessed as one of the most corrupt countries in the Eurozone.  While 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranks Italy 54th place out of 180 countries. Scoring on a par with Montenegro, Senegal and South Africa. Yearly the crime of corruption causes Italians a damage of €60 billion .

However an attempt to smother Juncker with ‘politically correct’ banning from public debate the tensions in eurozone is not a unique episode in European political life, it is a chronic syndrome. A year ago then the chair of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem came under the fire for his criticism of abuse of solidarity by heavily indebted countries of the  EU south. The degree of indignation had  amounted to demands of resignation put forward by Spain and Portugal. However the most striking in rude tone was the comment from Italy: “He has missed a perfect opportunity to shut up,” former Italian Socialist Prime Minister Matteo Renzi wrote in a Facebook post. “The sooner he goes, the better.”

The entire calamity was caused by the Dutchman remarks to a  German newspaper: “As a social democrat, I think that solidarity is extremely important. But whoever benefits also has duties,” he added. “I can’t spend all my money on booze and women and then ask for your support.” It was the allegory implied to illustrate  the role of corruption and tax evasion in ongoing Greek financial crisis that caused the indignation, not the depressing reality. The Transparency International estimated Greek tax evasion figures between €11 – €16 billion per annum ‘not collectable’, and the corruption also played ‘massive role’ in an outbreak of financial crisis.  Dijsselbloem survived the criticism, so  did his corrupt foes.

One year later the situation of tensions between the north and south of eurozone reflected in Dijsselbloem polemics has not improved in a meaningful way, but instead of fighting grim realities of corruption, the Italian politicians almost unanimously prefer to put some makeup on a face touched by leprosy, while the northern societies reject to accept the trick, requesting accountability. Dijsselbloem then, and Juncker now said what millions of taxpayers in the north of Europe know and think, and silencing them one guarantees the rising pressure of their discontent, because they are the ones to endorse the checks.

Obviously, the expected contemporary modus operandi of the presidents of European institutions, reserving them a role of modern royals – smiling to cameras and shaking hands, plus signing big checks for charity – will not please the EU taxpayers from the northern countries. Being the donors to the southern economies,  where a portion of their transfers is systematically disappearing in the pockets of the corrupt, they are increasingly concerned about the profile of the recipients of their funds.

With the upcoming departure of the UK, the second net contributor to the EU budget, the monitoring of funds transferred from donors to recipients in the bloc will be much more keen. It is possible to smother the heads of the EU institutions by ‘politically correct’ reserving them a public role of mute modern royals, but it will hit back,  undermining the trust in EU institutions, unable to defend the European values.

Sans la liberté de blâmer, il n’est pas d’éloge flatteur”, Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (“Where there is no freedom of blaming, there can be no genuine praise”).

Bruxelles, 3 june 2018