In case you were hoping that the European Union (EU) might find a way to patch up the recent differences between their original, western European members and the newer arrivals from the old Eastern Bloc nations, particularly on matters such as immigration, well… you should probably lower your expectations. There’s been an ongoing tiff between some on the left, particularly Angela Merkel, and the eastern states as to how they should regard the flood of primarily Muslim, Syrian migrants seeking passage to Europe. Merkel has maintained that they will add new flavor and culture to Europe’s nations and should be welcomed.
For an opposing point of view, we can turn to the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban. His take on the subject remains somewhat… different. In fact, this week he referred to them not as refugees, but Muslim Invaders. (Voice of Europe)
In an interview with German newspaper Bild, Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban called the migrant crisis an invasion.
He said: “We do not consider these people to be Muslim refugees, we regard them as Muslim invaders.”
“One has to cross four countries to arrive from Syria in Hungary”, Orban said. “Those people do not run for their lives but seek a better life. The refugees should have requested admission in advance, but instead they had breached the border illegally.”
Orban went on to say that he couldn’t embrace a wave of Muslim migrants because, “a large number of Muslims inevitably leads to parallel societies, because Christian and Muslim society will never unite.” If you’re approaching the question from a more western European or even liberal American point of view, that no doubt sounds rather harsh. But then again, the United States has been a “melting pot” for a long time, incorporating any number of different cultures. That’s not really true of Europe, where many nations have been set in their own, unique national identities for a very long time.
Also, Orban does have recent history on his side. Even in Germany, Merkel has faced serious political backlash because of increased crime rates, incidents of sexual assaults, strains on resources for social services needed to support the new arrivals and a host of other concerns. These issues have been the primary drivers behind the German Chancellor’s slide in the polls and significant losses for her party in recent elections.
Hungary has been consistently on a different track. When the EU was demanding that they take in a significant number of refugees, Orban responded by constructing a barrier across his nation’s entire southern border, decreasing unauthorized migration by 98% in the process. Then, just in case he hadn’t gotten the message across clearly enough, he sent a bill to the EU for half the cost of building the fence. Say what you will about Orban… he may not be much for subtlety but he never really leaves you guessing as to where he stands.
Can the EU do anything about the eastern nations who are blatantly rejecting these open border policies? It doesn’t seem so. If they had any cards left to play they surely would have put them forward by now. Until this migrant crisis abates, they’re going to have to hold their noses and soften their policies or risk more nations “exiting” the union.