To be quite blunt, this writer has never respected Matteo Renzi, the unhinged PM of Italy (full disclosure: a set of my grandparents were born in northern Italy and I deeply respect the citizens of Italy, just not their leaders). Italy’s economy is in shambles, not all of his fault, but his brand of socialism certainly is not the right medicine. But it is his attitude and grade-school antics that rub me the wrong way. He loves to huff and puff about “European values” and “greatness” but he is doing little to back that claim. In fact, I believe Renzi’s “open border wave-through” has exposed other Europeans to his negligence.
No doubt, the border of Italy is not secure and offers absolutely no resistance. Renzi is proud of this. This is why the smugglers and mostly African migrants (85% from non-refugee countries) target the coast of Italy. Italy accepts them all, undocumented or not. It would be one thing if the migrants stayed in Italy, but they are “waved-through” to roam Europe. This has been a problem well documented and certainly flys in the face of “solidarity”.
The clear problem has been the surrendered borders of Greece and Italy. Somehow, Renzi blames closed borders for the smugglers, deaths at sea, and the chaos the migrant crisis has spurned. But what closed border is he referring to? Australia? Not likely, none of the above happening with their secure border. Matteo, the external EU border is NOT closed, never has been. The smugglers are attracted to Italy’s porous border for a reason, easy access. This open border, an abnormal lack of responsibility, has led to three things:
1. Smugglers target the weak points, such as Italy, which lured (along with Merkel’s reckless words) the migrants into taking dangerous boat rides to their coast (because they know it’s open). As a result, death has occurred and Italy is at the mercy of criminal smugglers. A secure border, like Australia, deters the smugglers and the demand.
2. In June 2015, Renzi, in a fit rage, threatened “PlanB” on Europe. He would “unleash” a wave of migrants into mainland Europe if he did not get his way (refugee quotas). Apparently, it was not just a threat; he did it. But Italy let in anyone, often with no vetting at all. They had no idea who these people were or where they came from. They were just “waved-through” to others in Europe. Did this type of policy expose all of Europe to terrorism and the kind of sexual assaults we saw in Cologne, Sweden and elsewhere?
3. Austria has rightly decided to build a border fence at their border with Italy. Austria may be powerless to change the Open Border attitude of Renzi but they are not without mechanisms to prevent Italy from holding them hostage to that policy. Sealing Italy would force Renzi either to secure his border or be overwhelmed by migrants. Either way, Austria and others will not suffer the consequences of the actions of another nation.
Now, Renzi is throwing another temper tantrum, this time at Austria and the V4. Renzi is demanding that Austria keep the border open (wonder why?) and that any country that refuses migrant quotas be fined over $250,000 per migrant. This is absurd and laughable, and has vengeance written all over it. As Viktor Orban has pointed out, the average Hungarian would have to work 40 years to equal the fine of one refugee. Renzi, like Erdogan & Turkey, sees this as a way to shake down the EU for cash. EU monies have gone to Italy, but no one can account to where that money was spent.
This EU diktat to the CEE states is insulting. Quotas or blackmail is no solution but a weak excuse not to seal the external border. The V4 has had it right from the beginning: Secure the border and process asylum claims outside of Europe so that migrants are not granted entrance to roam Europe. Then, if Germany or others want refugees, they can take them directly from the camps outside of Europe. If others wish to preserve their culture and choose not to take migrants, they should retain this right as sovereign nations to control their own borders.
The V4 and others must reject the migrant quotas and refuse to pay the EU. This is a nonsense and it cannot be enforced. Moreover, Merkel and Germany cannot afford to lose the vibrant and emerging nations of the V4 and CEE states, and they know this. My advice is call their bluff; this may force Merkel and Renzi to seal the border, for she has too much at stake (economics, trade) in keeping the EU intact. The V4 also has too much at stake to accept migrant quotas: their culture, their way of life, and their security.
In the meantime, one may want to ask Renzi why the smugglers prefer his open border as opposed to Hungary? Others must inform Renzi to clean up his own house before allowing him to sacrifice theirs.