Immigration-related events are moving rapidly this in Europe summer. The situation is in such flux that now would be a good time to step back and try to get an overview of the process.
Three years ago the dead baby hysteria, followed by Chancellor Merkel’s invitation to the world (“Y’all come in and set a spell, bitte!”), launched the Great European Migration Crisis. Since then I’ve read hundreds of news articles and analyses about the flow of “refugees” and the reactions to their violent and fragrant arrival in Western Europe.
After digesting all that information I created the following map, which presents my subjective evaluation of the different approaches to migration by various European countries. I’ve rated the policies of 28 different countries (the EU 27 minus Croatia, plus Switzerland) on a scale from 0 to 100, from zero (red) for the open-borders attitude of the “Welcoming Culture” to 100 (blue) for the absolute refusal of mass migration by the Visegrád Four (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic). Data from the last six months weighs more heavily in the score assigned to each country — for example, Spain and Italy recently changed governments, which has strongly affected each country’s migration policy.
The grouping of countries based on their stance on migration bears a striking resemblance to the division of Europe into East and West by the Iron Curtain. This is especially true if we roll the clock back three months — back then Italy and Bavaria would have been quite red. And the analogy becomes even more apt if we remember that Austria was occupied by Soviet troops until 1955, which gives it one foot in the Eastern camp.
The biggest change in the past three months has been the formation of a new anti-immigration government in Italy. The “xenophobia” of the East Bloc has now broken through the razor-wire curtain and gained a foothold in Western Europe. No wonder EU politics is in such turmoil! After failing to contain the “anti-European” attitudes of Poland and Hungary, Brussels now has to contend with Matteo Salvini. Italy is one of the “big four” pillars of the European Union, so its defection to the anti-migration side carries enormous significance for continental politics.
The situation is metamorphosing rapidly, but before we analyze the process of change — the “delta”, as they say in the military-industrial complex — let’s go over the snapshot of current European migration policies.
The Visegrád Four
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was the first major European political leader to (1) understand the larger significance of the refugee crisis of 2015, and (2) act rapidly to counteract the nexus of globalist actions that threatened the stability of the Hungarian state. In doing so he made himself an obstacle to the no-borders coalition, especially the “American philanthropist” George Soros. The reaction to Mr. Orbán’s building of the fence helped clarify the East-West divide, and strengthened the solidarity of the Visegrád Four. Each country now supports the others’ positions, and each vows to veto any action by the EU (the European Commission requires consensus to implement a sanctions regime) that would harm the other members. Taken individually, each V4 country is no match for Germany or France, but when they act in concert the four countries become a formidable thorn in the flesh of the Brussels oligarchy.
The movement of Italy and Austria (and even Bavaria) towards the Visegrád Four position allows Hungary to — as Barack Obama has so frequently said — punch above its weight.
The most recent Austrian election resulted in a coalition government headed by Sebastian “Boy” Kurz (ÖVP) as chancellor and Heinz-Christian Strache (FPÖ) as vice chancellor. Mr. Kurz may well be a cynical opportunist who has simply trimmed his sails to the wind, all the while remaining loyal to his mentors in the Davos crowd. However, to maintain his position he has to give at least the appearance of acting decisively to deal with the migration issue — hence the recent law targeting “radicalization” in Austrian mosques (see Christian Zeitz’ analysis). Part of that appearance will of necessity include the reduction of violence and disorder brought to Austria by Muslim immigrants. Any failure to achieve discernible results will endanger his chancellorship. For that reason one may expect him to stay the course, at least for the time being.
Mr. Kurz’ alignment with Italy, Hungary, and Bavaria bodes ill for Chancellor Angela Merkel and the mandarins in Brussels. A counterweight to their power is forming on their southeastern flank, and the resulting political crisis looks to be the most turbulent since the fall of the Iron Curtain and the reunification of Germany.
The new coalition government in Italy is shaking the very foundations of Barad-dûr in Brussels. The Five-Star Movement is more or less a traditional populist party, but the Lega Nord is full-on anti-immigration. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has hit his stride early, turning back the refugee ferries and threatening to impound any NGO “rescue” vessels that make port in Italy. Unlike Chancellor Kurz, Mr. Salvini has never changed his tune — almost ten years ago, when I first started paying attention to him, he was the same anti-migrant firebrand that he is today. He shows no sign of being cowed by threats from Brussels; it’s no wonder that emergency summits are being hastily convened in reaction to him.
Since the new government was formed, the Lega has shot ahead of the Five-Star Movement to become the most popular party in Italy. If another election were to be held, Matteo Salvini would most likely end up as prime minister.
When I use the term “Eastern Europe”, I refer to the Baltic republics, Romania, and Bulgaria. (The Visegrád Four plus Austria comprise Central Europe. Strictly speaking, Moldova, Ukraine, and Belarus could also be considered Eastern Europe, but their political affairs are more closely associated with Russia, whether for or against, so I’m leaving them out of this analysis.)
Eastern Europe has the good fortune not to be attractive as a final destination for migrants — their welfare benefits are much less generous than those further west, and they are less reticent about dealing harshly with the criminal proclivities of foreigners. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have the added advantage of being largely off the route for most of the migration flowing into Western Europe.
Bulgaria and Romania have their share of migrant camps, full of angry, resentful Third-World “refugees” who are impatient to get out of those Black Sea backwaters and into the promised land of Germany or Sweden. The crime and disease the migrants bring with them spills out of the camps and into the adjacent towns. News outlets in those countries are blessedly un-PC, so the word gets out, and members of the general public who may once have been indifferent are now becoming anti-immigrant.
Bulgaria and Romania generally align with the Visegrád Four on most issues. However, a lot of globalist money — much of it channeled by Soros NGOs — makes its way into both countries. They are not as well-off as their Western neighbors, so the flow of cash has some effect.
Traffickers are active in both countries, and a steady flow of illicit migrants crosses from there into Serbia on the route to Shangri-la in Munich or Berlin.
I left the Balkan countries off the map for two reasons: (1) I don’t understand their politics very well; and (2) their function in the migration crisis is to act as transit camps for the flow heading north. No migrants want to settle in the Balkans. They may live in squalid conditions for months or years in the camps that have sprung up adjacent to various borders, but they have no intention of staying. And the natives do their best, legally or otherwise, to make sure that the transients move on.
The First Balkan Route ran from Greece through Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary to Austria and Germany. Viktor Orbán blocked that route by the end of 2015, so the Second Balkan Route developed in early 2016 as a western detour, running through Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia.
As the second route was gradually choked off, the traffickers tried to establish a route across the Black Sea through Romania and Bulgaria. However, it was relatively difficult and expensive, and could not handle the volume of traffic that had been flowing from Greece through the Balkans.
A Third Balkan Route is reportedly now forming. It will run through Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Some 80,000 would-be Germans are said to be backed up on that route, waiting to make it through. This is one of the main reasons that Austria and Bavaria are holding meetings to coordinate border patrols and other anti-trafficking measures.
Slovenia (which is not a Balkan country, but Southern European) is closely aligned with both Austria and Italy. With its recent election of a nationalist government, it may be expected to work with its northern and western neighbors to implement similar migration policies.
Despite their apparent cultural similarity, the Swedes are quite different from the Danes and the Norwegians on the migration issue. Over the last six years the latter two countries have quietly imposed restrictions on migration, tightening the welfare system to make it less lucrative for foreigners. Norway has even gone so far as to deport hundreds of criminal immigrants — a rarity in Western Europe.
Meanwhile, Sweden continues its suicidal open-borders policies. Malmö is descending into chaos and making the Danes nervous about its proximity to Copenhagen. But the leftist establishment may have pushed the multicultural envelope too far — the Sweden Democrats are now the most popular party in the country, polling above 25%. If they continue to gain in popularity, Sweden may follow Austria and Italy and flip after the general election in September.
Finland is a mixed bag. Most Finns seem to have a sensible and skeptical attitude about immigration, yet the country’s governing class seems to be packed with Gutmenschen who want to imitate Mutti Merkel and invite the whole world in. If it were a more attractive destination for migrants — if it weren’t straddling the Arctic Circle, that is — Finland might have already gone the way of its Swedish role model.
I marked Greece as fully red on the map, but the nature of Greek migration policy is hard to pin down, since the country is only just barely a sovereign entity. The financial meltdown had already wrecked the Greek economy before the migration crisis, and the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants has dealt a devastating blow to the country by wiping out most of the tourist industry.
Greece is now a virtual vassal of Berlin, and very much in thrall to the demands of the European Central Bank. It can make almost no independent fiscal decisions.
Greece also has the misfortune to be caught in the middle of the struggle between Germany and Turkey. When Turkey punishes the EU by releasing a new wave of “refugees”, Greece bears the brunt of the influx. Thousands of the new arrivals back up in the camps on the islands, or at the border with Macedonia.
Functionally speaking, Greece is a de-facto Balkan country nowadays, a gigantic refugee camp and holding pen for the “New Germans” who haven’t yet made it to Berlin.
Spain and Portugal
The Balkan Routes have carried the eastern branch of the migration, mostly made up of Afghans, Persians, Syrians, Iraqis, and Turks. The western traffickers have ferried a different clientele across the Mediterranean — Somalis, Eritreans, Nigerians, Senegalese, Tunisians, Libyans, Algerians, and Moroccans. Most of the African traffic had been landing at Lampedusa and other Italian ports, until Matteo Salvini took over as interior minister. The shift in political winds has allowed Malta to refuse the migrant ferries as well, so the boats are being forced to turn westwards towards Spain.
Coincidentally, Spain has just elected a new left-wing government that is enthusiastic about migrants, and apparently eager to take them in. It’s too early to say for certain, but it looks like the trans-Mediterranean route may shift westwards to Iberia.
Spain and Portugal, however, are not a preferred destination for most migrants. Like the Balkans, Iberia is just a way station on the route to the land of milk and honey further north in France, Britain, Germany, the Low Countries, and Sweden.
The French are shamelessly hypocritical when it comes to mass migration. President Emmanuel Macron, like his predecessors, pays plenty of lip service to welcoming migrants. However, the actions of the French government continue to serve French interests: while hectoring Italy to let the boats land, France keeps the border crossing from Italy at Ventimiglia tightly closed, and refuses to let the diverted NGO vessels land on French territory.
In the long run it doesn’t matter — France has already passed the Threshold of Doom: it has a Muslim population in excess of 15%. Successive governments will no doubt continue their dishonest rhetoric about La Gloire and La République while the country is inexorably transformed into an Islamic state. Or maybe it will fragment along ethnic lines — who knows?
In any case, France has passed to point of no return.
I don’t understand Switzerland. It is completely independent of the European Union, and affluent enough not to be extorted, yet it gives in to many of Brussels’ demands and allows far too many undesirables into its Alpine stronghold.
Is Swiss policy driven by ideology? Or is the country simply desirous of favorable terms for its commerce with the EU?
The Heartland of the Welcoming Culture
The most migrant-welcoming countries — the ones rated zero on the map — are Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, and (strangely enough) Ireland. They are pro-active about immigration, lavish generous benefits on newcomers, and crack down on any anti-migrant discussion in social media.
Along with Sweden, they are the most attractive destinations for Third-World immigrants, bestowing subsidies on them and putting them on the fast track to voting and citizenship. The heartland’s socialist governments see the newcomers as a guarantee of their permanent ruling position, but even the “center-right” parties –e.g. Angela Merkel and the CDU — have long since capitulated to the New World Order.
The generosity of the welfare utopia in the heartland acts to create an osmotic pressure that sucks all those Third-World immigrants north and west. From thousands of miles away they hear the promises — it’s money for nothing, and the chicks are free! They’ll keep coming until the borders are closed, or the system collapses. Or both.
Bavaria is the wild card in all this. It’s not a sovereign nation, but its minister-president Markus Söder enjoys considerable autonomy. He is currently working closely with Austria on methods of stanching the flow of “refugees” from Italy and the Balkans. In the long run Mr. Söder cannot successfully impose a policy that diverges significantly from that crafted in Berlin. However, Bavaria’s actions, if it receives support from other elements of the German establishment, may ultimately topple Angela Merkel from power. If that happens, all bets are off as to what will become of migration policy in the heartland of the Welcoming Culture.
The United Kingdom
Britain is an anomaly. It has an immigrant problem as severe as any other European country except for France, but the source for the migrants is different. The bulk of the new arrivals in Britain fly in from Pakistan and Bangladesh, with most of the rest coming from former British colonies in Africa and the Caribbean.
The Great European Migration Crisis has affected the UK only indirectly, through the chokepoint in Calais and its environs. Those who manage to make it across (or under) the English Channel take up residence and enjoy the same benefits enjoyed by earlier arrivals, but they are not as significant in numbers as immigrants from the Indian subcontinent.
Brexit notwithstanding, the migrants continue to arrive. It appears that even if Theresa May’s government actually pulls the plug on the EU, the immigrants will keep flowing in. Neither major party shows any sign of wanting to stop the flow.
Sad to say, the U.K. is accelerating giddily towards full Islamization.
Look at the map again and imagine the immense stream of “refugees” across the Bosphorus and the Aegean to Greece, across the Mediterranean to Italy, across the Strait of Gibraltar to Spain, across various overland routes to Austria and Poland. Picture those hordes of refugees flowing north to Germany, Britain, and Sweden.
It’s obvious that a lot of somebody’s money is behind them, pushing them towards their destination and facilitating their journey. A lot of money, presumably from the same sources, is also lining the pockets of politicians and apparatchiks in Western Europe, who in return make sure that the migrants can enter the country and be supported after they arrive.
It’s obvious that the situation cannot continue in such a manner indefinitely.
One possible outcome is a collapse of the welfare system, ushering in an inherently unpredictable period of political chaos and social suffering. But Italy shows us that the buildup of popular pressure can cause rapid and dramatic change without political collapse.
The ballot box is largely vestigial in most Western countries. You can vote for Tweedledum or Tweedledee, who promise you whatever you want to hear. Then after the election things continue more or less the same, year after year and decade after decade.
Yet there has been significant change in Italy via the electoral process, although it’s too early to tell how long it will last. The ECB and Germany may yet be able to undo the result somehow and send Matteo Salvini packing. Or they may not.
During the past year the blue stronghold in Eastern and Central Europe has crept westward, turning Austria, Slovenia, Italy, and Bavaria purple. Who’s next?
Watch the Swedish election in September. Sweden has possibly the most rigid consensus culture in the West. A consensus society cannot change gradually — it continues placidly along more or less the same course for decades, and then suddenly one day everything is different. A new consensus appears out of nowhere, and it’s as if the entire society has forgotten the previous one.
I don’t know if that’s what will happen in Sweden; I’m not making any predictions. Despite my studies of Swedish affairs over more than a decade, I don’t understand Swedes. Not in the slightest.
But it will be interesting to watch and see what happens.