Europe and Future Prospects for Middle Eastern Immigrants

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Abdolreza Faraji-Rad
Iran’s Former Ambassador to Hungary & Norway

During recent days, we have been witnessing immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa flooding Europe. The first question raised here is “has the unrest in the Middle East region anything to do with the movement of migrants toward Europe?” The answer is yes. Immigration has naturally existed since crises started in North Africa followed by the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and even Afghanistan. However, why this phenomenon has been intensified recently? While 4 years have passed since the beginning of the Arab Spring developments and some Arab countries are been targeted by rocket attacks during this period, what has happened anew to create such a great wave of migrants now? To answer this question attention must be paid to a number of factors as follows:

Desperation: People in countries like Libya, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq are desperate as they see no bright outlook for the resolution of problems and challenges in their countries. People in these countries have been living in a state of limbo and even at camps for many years. Now, they have reached the conclusion that despite many conferences and changes in governments and ruling systems, the conditions have only changed for the worst. Under these circumstances, they first lose hope in the future and then start thinking about their future.

Provocation: Any time that a group of people immigrates, others feel that they are lagging behind and losing time. Of course, there are people whose situation is not critical, like the people in Afghanistan, but they are also among the huge population of migrants who have no place to live, or are at risk of aggression and massacre and this issue has been a factor causing the population of migrants to swell.

Turkey and taking advantage of an opportunity: About one million asylum seekers have already arrived in Turkey. The current acceleration of immigration to Europe is not unrelated to a possible roadmap followed by Turkey in this regard. So, one can claim that Turkey has been paving the way for this new wave of immigration to Europe. A large number of immigrants have left Turkey for Greece and Italy before moving on toward the Balkan countries and Hungary and finally toward Central Europe. The point, which has been largely ignored by mass media in this regard, is the role played by Turkey in creating this huge wave of migrants. This issue can be to Turkey’s benefit in the long run. Presence of Muslim migrants in Europe will increase the Muslim population in this continent. On the other hand, Turkey seeks membership in the European Union. By doing this, Turkey is trying to relieve itself of the cumbersome burden of migrants and shift it to Europe. Given domestic political changes in Turkey, the country’s officials were losing hope and, in fact, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was not hopeful about achieving its goals. Now, by taking advantage of the migrants’ issue, Turkey is trying to achieve its goals. Turkey can also use the issue of migrants against the Syrian government. The question that Turkey asks is why it should bear the burden of migrants in the first place? Therefore, it has drawn up a roadmap and is trying through propaganda and pressure and guidance to direct migrants toward Europe. This is not a difficult task to do. Turkey can easily use migrants as a propaganda tool in order to achieve its goals, including taking steps against the Syrian government.

Propinquity of critical regions to Europe: The current critical regions in the Middle East and North Africa are close to Europe. Meanwhile, Europe has certain regulations for accepting migrants, according to which, it considers facilities for immigration. These regulations, which are on the agenda of EU member countries, stipulate that any country where migrants enter first must register them and examine migrants to see from which critical countries they hail. In fact, it is the first country of arrival that must issue permit for migrants to stay. Therefore, from the viewpoint of European regulations, the first countries in line are required to implement these regulations. On the other hand, migrants have no other choice, but to go to Europe. Despite their financial capacities and their need to specialized and labor force, the member states of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council, which are to blame for waging war in the Middle East, do not allow a single migrant to cross the border into their territories. Therefore, Europe is the second closest destination for migrants.

Differences within Europe and an opportunity for migrants: In view of the existing differences among the member states of the European Union (EU), migrants have been offered with a good opportunity. Differences within the EU, which have escalated in past few days, and the pressure put on Greece and Hungary to accept migrants, have provided migrants with a good opportunity. Due to weak economies and not being used to receiving migrants, Eastern European states, despite being EU members, have had little practice with regard to the issue of immigration and human rights. For many years, they were known as member countries of the Communist Eastern Bloc. Therefore, migrants have made the most of the existing differences between Central and Western Europe as well as between Britain and Eastern Europe. In the meantime, it was only Germany that has been able to take positive advantage of this situation for two reasons.

Firstly, at present, Germany has good prestige among countries in the world. This country has been seeking to come on top among European countries and is now getting close to achieving this goal. Other European countries are apparently conceding to this fact. When financial crisis plagued some countries in Southern Europe like Spain, Greece, and Italy, no other European state was able to provide them with effective assistance other than Germany. This shows that Germany wants to become the leader of Europe. To attain such a leadership position, the German government needs popularity both within the country, and among international community. By accepting migrants, the German government has been able to mobilize people in other European countries against those governments, which have mistreated migrants.

Secondly, Germany really needed to take this step. Germany is a senescent country. Although it will have to tolerate economic and social pressures in short term, but in long term, this measure will have positive effects for the country. At present, tens of thousands of migrants are arriving in Germany. According to figures released by the German government, the country can take in 800,000 migrants in a year. Migrants arriving in Germany come from various walks of life and include engineers, workers, nurses, civil servants and so forth. These people will keep Germany’s economy running. Later on, they will have to pay taxes to the government and the tax money will be used to boost welfare for the country’s ageing population. In this way, German economy can remain competitive at European and global levels. On the other hand, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is going through the last days of her term in office. She hails from the former East Germany. People of East Germany were considered racist and poor. By taking this measure, Merkel has been able to introduce herself as a righteous international figure from East Germany.

Key Words: Europe, Future Prospects, Middle Eastern Immigrants, Desperation, Provocation, Propinquity, Germany, Angela Merkel, Leadership Position, Faraji-Rad

Source: Iranian Diplomacy (IRD)

Translated By: Iran Review.Org

More By Abdolreza Faraji-Rad:

*Why France Played Wrong Tune in Nuclear Talks?:

*Photo Credit: Washington Examiner, The Sunday Morning Herald

طراحی و توسعه آگاه‌سیستم