Europe finds itself these days in a breaking point that is setting up the necessary circumstances for a preview of a future radical redefinition of its social, economical and security policies. The emergency summit held in Brussels on the 23rd of April was the first step of the defense stance that the EU is entering.
After decades of being a promised land for migrants from Africa, the Middle East and central Asia, Europe started feeling more and more pressured by the complexity of the migration issue. How do you address this issue without being political incorrect in an European Union that wants to prove itself as a model of evolved civilization? Without contradicting your own tolerant European speech? Well, the EU leaders have spent the past few years wondering about it, but closing an eye, due to the complications that would start if such this problem would be raised. To put it frankly, no one wanted to take upon the responsibility of opening Pandora’s box and dealing with this real inside problem, even more so as the extremist right wing parties and movements in Europe became seriously involved in blaming immigration for anything wrong in their countries.
And then something happened… for almost two years the high level bureaucrats in Brussels have received quarterly reports of a growing and most worrying phenomenon: European foreign fighters travelling to conflict zones such as Syria, Iraq, Libya to join terrorist organizations in an effort to topple regimes or just fight the jihad in the name of Allah against ‘infidels’. If that wasn’t disturbing enough for the European authorities, the profile of these foreign fighters gave the chills to those who believed that all immigrants can adapt and live happily ever after in a shinny European Union: second and third generation migrants, full citizens of the European countries (mostly Western), born and raised as…Europeans.
They are the ones who can’t find their place among today’s European societies. Young second or third generation Muslims from states such as France, Germany or the UK are easiest to manipulate, and they are the most often targeted victims of fundamentalist movements that radicalize Muslims. Their main issue is a psychological one: the lack of roots and of the feeling of belonging – they are Westerners for their poor relatives who live in the Arab cities still trapped in the past, but at the same time they are still foreigners for the natives of the states they live in. Their name will always be the first and most important tag that will define them even at airport security checks, in spite of their birthplace.
The European national intelligence agencies have been since then in constant alert and have increased supervisation on this issue, anticipating the next step which we are currently experiencing: the return of the foreign fighters HOME, to Europe. “Where do we go from now?” is the main question European leaders have asked themselves behing closed doors for the past 12 months. Pressure increased with the terrorist attacks that hit Paris, Copenhagen and Brussels.
As easy as it might be to stop and detain a jihadist foreign fighter while entering the country throw the sliding doors of the airports, their common coming back routes are more sly and carefully chosen.
And here lies the key of truly understanding the emergency summit, the announced measures and why this is a milestone for Europe, who is for the first time in years bound to take action and build a barrier.
On the evening of 20th of April, the President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk, was releasing a video message in which he was announcing that Europe has no more excuse to not tackle the illegal immigration problem, after 800 migrants drowned the day before while trying to reach the coast of Italy. It was a different Donald Tusk than Europeans usually see him: grave and affected, he called for an urgent EU special council in Brussels that would put on paper all the necessary measures to respond immediately to the problem of illegal immigration….’for the thousands of lives wasted these past years’, he said. Nevertheless, diplomatic sources talk of a slightly different motivation in conveying that emmergency summit, a motivation that is, nonetheless, equally important for Europe and its people.
What the Polish Catholic president of the EU Council knew at that moment was that – as cynical as it sounds- God gave him the perfect excuse to stand out in front of the world and announce that Europe its decisively shifting its policies, preparing to end decades of openess and ‘politicall corect’ tolerance.
But one might still ask why now: well, there was one minor and overlooked incident involving illegal immigrants that shooked Tusk’s world; on the 16th of April, 12 Christians of African origins were killed after being thrown off a boat by their fellow illegal immigrants, of Islamic faith, who were annoyed by the Christian prayers. After the Christian leaders expressed their profund dissatisfaction with the incident and demanded EU leaders to take a stance on the issue of ‘Muslims killing Christians’, the intelligence reports investigating the incident – that Tusk received- reveiled something truly terrifying: the killers and others on the boat were foreign fighters coming from Syria (where they finished their radicalization inside the terorrist groups), disguised as illegal immigrants.
They return ready for action: stricking Europe from its core, as the terorrist leaders in ISIS and other organization often like to ‘brag about it’
The nightmare of each European leader was confirmed and that led to Tusk reaction: the foreign fighters return home choosing the illegal immigration routes (the Mediteraneean Sea and more ofter the Western Balkans). And they return ready for action: stricking Europe from its core, as the terorrist leaders in ISIS and other organization often like to ‘brag about it’
This time Europe has taken it very seriously and decided to take immediate and radical action. The cost of it is still to be discussed as it would lead to a very large financial burden on the Member States, nevertheless, more importantly it will redifine its security strategies. It will be a challenge to see how relations of the EU with third countries will change after the implementation of certain points announced: the special officers that will be send to the EU diplomatic missions, the military humanitarian missions with focus on Libya and later extended to the rest of North Africa, tracking down and destroying human trafficking routes…all these while obbeying the international laws and bilateral treaties.
They say after the rain comes sun, nevertheless there are no feasible prospects for any ray of light in the Mid-East and North Africa any time soon…but only for the darkness of zealotry, which is spreading like poison ivy all through the region, up to Europe’s front door. Judging by the latest developments in Brussels – concerning ‘illegal migration’- EU leaders truly acknowledge the danger: a desert storm is heading for us.