Fortress Europe

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

While President-elect Donald Trump is contemplating building a wall with Mexico, the European Union has already been building walls along the periphery of the European continent. The purpose of these walls? To keep out refugees, economic migrants, and political refugees trying to escape from dictatorship. The construction of border walls started in 2012 with Greece. The Greek government built a huge fence between the Greek and Turkish border to keep out migrants and refugees from Asia. Hungary built a border fence along its border with Croatia to keep out migrants and refugees as well. Slovenia is following by building a similar border fence with Croatia. Bulgaria has built a border fence with Turkey, and Austria may soon build its border fence with Slovenia. Meanwhile, both the French and British governments are building border fences at the Channel tunnel to prevent migrants and refugees from crossing from Calais, France, into Great Britain. Spain has built fortifications with its islands of Ceuta and Melilla to keep African migrants and refugees out.

Not all of the border fences being built are to keep the migrants and refugees from Asia out. Estonia is building a border fence to keep the Russians out, and the Ukraine is doing the same to keep the Russians out. Despite the Schengen Agreement where people from within the European Union can move from one country to the other without visas or even passports, this agreement, according to officials of the European Union, does not include migrants and refugees from Asia and Africa (and now it seems the Russians as well). Many nativists and extremists all across Europe want to keep the European Union “European” so that they will not take in people fleeing from countries wracked by civil war, dictatorship, and instability. But then, the sad truth is that some of the European Union members had caused the instability in parts of Asia and Africa where now it is affecting the European continent. Take the example of Libya, had both Great Britain and France (and the United States) not helped the Islamic rebels against the former ruler Muammar Gaddafi, then there would be no Libyan refugee crisis and no economic migrants going through Libya on their way to Europe. Building walls may seem like a solution, but it is an incomplete and in the end a poor solution. The migrants and refugees will keep coming until the European Union works to try and deal with the problems that caused these refugees to flee in the first place. But, sadly, the European Union has come to believe that European should only deal with themselves and not their immediate Asian neighbors.

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