Perhaps we have unleashed a genie from a bottle, not so much with the migrants themselves because economically and even numerically they do not currently pose any threat to Europe, but culturally, they are perceived to present a huge cultural threat. There are a lot of anti-migrant emotions flying around Europe at the moment. Could this be what the anti-EU camp has been waiting for, and manna from heaven for ultra right wing parties?
Dr John Laughland from the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris and Dr Simon Mabon, who is a Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University are guests on this programme. They enter into a very heated debate about this topic, which has become one of the most important issues of our time. Some (but not all) of the main points are listed below, but if you are interested in this theme, please do listen to the programme.
(Dr Laughland) Migration laws in Europe have been ‘flip-flopping’. An example is given of Angela Merkel, who seems to have let a large number of migrants in Germany, and then changed her mind.
(Dr Mabon) That large number of the migrants coming to the EU are running for their lives from war zones.
(Dr Mabon) There is a huge misconception of the number of migrants in western countries. In the UK for example, there are not millions but thousands. The press has sensationalised this out of all proportions.
(Dr Laughland) I agree that we have a duty to help refugees but I deny that the people crossing into Europe now are refugees. What we're dealing with here is not an asylum issue but instead a migration issue. When you have ten thousand people arriving every day in Europe, you are talking about millions of people each year. This is nothing to do with media sensationalism.
(Dr Mabon) There is a serious problem, but this should be collectively handed by the EU together.
(Dr Laughland) The point is that the same elites who are already profiting from the EU will use this opportunity to strengthen their control on countries.
(Dr Mabon) As far as the break up of the EU is concerned; any crisis provides a clear opportunity for people who want to break up Europe, a community that has allowed Europe to live in peace and security for 50 years.