The ESI proposition
Until then, the question of migration had been an economic problem, mainly between Africa and Italy. This was added to a problem internal to the Union – the demand of German heavy industry, expressed by its President Ulrich Grillo, of recruiting to Germany 800,000 East European workers who did not belong to the Schengen Area. Overnight, the problem of the humanitarian refugees fleeing a war zone was added to these two economic factors.
The first concrete proposition for responding to the new situation was formulated on the 17th September 2015 by the ESI, a think tank created in Berlin, and then clarified on the 4th October. It concerned the drawing up of an agreement between the EU and Turkey designed to stem the tide of migrants, while organising the transfer of 500,000 Syrian refugees to the Union over the next twelve months. In addition, Turkey would agree to take back the other migrants who continued to enter the Union illegally, while in exchange, it would receive a visa dispensation for all its citizens.
«It is a recognition that the Syrian crisis is genuinely unique, creating a humanitarian crisis on a scale not seen in Europe since the Second World War», indicated the ESI, specifying that the initiative should come from Germany, in response to the Russian intervention in Syria.
the ESI takes it as read that the Syrian refugees are fleeing «repression by Bachar’s régime» supported by Russia.
the ESI only takes into account the Syrian refugees, and not the Iraqi refugees, who are also persecuted by Daesh.
the ESI specifies that its plan also has the objective
of warning against the development of the extreme right in Austria – the director of this think-tank is Austrian ;
of preparing a similar operation for 1.1 million Syrian refugees currently based in Lebanon, and who will be sent on to North America and Australia. This concerns the application of Kelly Greenhill’s theories about the «strategic management of migrations as a weapon of war» , such as that observed by ESI researchers during the start of the war in Kosovo .
In addition, by proposing to send back the migrants to Turkey, the ESI seems to ignore that this country is not a stable state for refugees, and that it had refused to sign the Convention of 1951.
The Merkel Plan
On the 23rd September, the European Council published a communiqué which, in turn, assimilated the question of the migrants to that of the war in / against Syria .
The main points of the ESI plan were resumed on the 7th October by Chancellor Angela Merkel, during an interview with journalist Anne Will on the TV channel ARD.
In order to present its project, now named the «Merkel Plan», the ESI organised conferences in Berlin, Ankara, Istanbul, Stockholm, Brussels and La Haye.
On the 12th November, independent of the emergency provoked by the hordes of migrants gathering in the Balkans, the Union organised a summit in Valetta to try to answer the structural question of economic migrations from Africa. It was agreed to create a special fund of 1.8 billion Euros for long-term projects which could offer a local economic perspective to Africans and help them to create stability at home.
On the 29th November, the Union organised another summit of the European Council, this time with Turkey. The «Merkel Plan» was adopted by both parties. However, an envelope of aid to Turkey was added, to the sum of 3 billion Euros.
The Council justified this sudden generosity as aid for the accommodation of the Syrian refugees who, until then, had cost Turkey 8 billion dollars – but there was no plan to pay an equivalent sum to Lebanon and Jordan, who together have hosted more Syrian refugees than Turkey. Yet the Council pretends to ignore that Turkish spending has already been reimbursed by the UNO, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and that Turkey has systematically looted the North of Syria –dismantling machine-tools and stealing antique treasures– for infinitely greater sums. And finally, the majority of the 2.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkey have been integrated into the local economy, to the extent that less than 240,000 have been placed under the protection of the World Food Programme.
In reality, Germany and France, who pushed for the creation of this donation, intend in this way to indirectly finance the continuation of the war against Syria, which will – according to them – put an end to the suffering of the refugees by overthrowing the Syrian Arab Republic.
On the 21st January 2016, the director of the ESI, Gerald Knaus , published an op-ed piece in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. He defended the principle of a closer and more direct cooperation between Germany and Turkey, but without involving the EU. He concluded that a failure of the «Merkel Plan» would lead to «reinforcing those who wish to abolish the right to asylum, who are against the refugees, against the Union, against Turkey, against Muslims, and who support Putin. » .
Gerald Knaus does not explain how the fact of dealing directly between Berlin and Ankara without involving Brussels would help the struggle against Euro-scepticism. Neither does he explain why Russia would want to see Syrian refugees drowning in the Aegean.
No-one reacted to these insanities, since the refugee question has not been treated rationally for a long time
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