In the Summer of 2015, the countries of Europe experienced one of the largest spikes in asylum seekers in modern European history. In October 2015 alone, more than 200,000 predominantly Arab Muslim asylum seekers arrived in Greece alone, and many moved further, towards Western European countries such as Germany, France and Sweden.
This dramatic rise in refugees has two main causes – first, and arguably most important, was the softening of regulations relating to European asylum claims. In June 2015, a few months before the spike, the government of Macedonia relaxed border enforcement rules by allowing migrants to travel freely through their territory, offering a comparatively cheap route into Central Europe for asylum seekers. A few months later, Hungary found itself swarmed with requests for asylum, unable to process new requests and unable to retake migrants who had passed their territory and kept going into Europe.
Asylum applications in Europe at the time were governed by the Dublin Regulation. This was a piece of international law that dictated which country was responsible for which asylum seekers. The Dublin Regulation stated that an asylum application to a Dublin Regulation member state must be made to the first country that applicant arrives in. If an applicant attempts to leave that country, they can be deported back. Because of this, geographically unfortunate countries such as Hungary found themselves bearing a great deal of the burden.
In August of 2015, the German government announced that they would no longer enforce the Dublin Regulation, due to the enormous burden placed upon single member states, as well as noncompliance from other member states like the Czech Republic, who were offering asylum to applicants in Hungary. At the same time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany would offer ‘temporary asylum’ to any refugee. This, coupled with her promise that ‘there is no legal limit to refugee numbers’, and widely broadcast footage of cheerful Germans welcoming refugees to their country, caused asylum numbers to skyrocket, hitting their peak two months later in October 2015. It was not until a deal between Turkey and the EU was signed in late March 2016 that arrivals in Greece slowed to manageable levels.
The other cause, and one all too commonly forgotten, is the work of the Russian puppet Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria. Through a combination of widespread increases in conscription rates and easing of Syrian passport acquisition, Assad sought to use Europe as a dumping ground for opponents of his regime, so as to strengthen his hand in the Syrian Civil War. This has been a tremendous success – millions of Syrians have fled their home country, overwhelmingly young and male – a report by the German Federal Service for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in May 2016 estimated that up to 75% of refugees were male, and 67% were under the age of 33.
So, what does this mean for us in Europe? Asylum applications have been made all across Europe, but Germany by far has been the most popular destination, followed by Hungary, Italy, France and Sweden.
How do these migrants do in their adoptive countries? All the evidence suggests they integrate poorly. Having lived in a Muslim country their entire lives, they come to Europe with little knowledge of our culture and values, leading to countless horrific cases of sexual violence towards European women. Probably the best known of these was the mass sexual assaults in Cologne, which took place alongside numerous thefts and rapes. Following the incident, 153 suspects were identified, predominantly Muslim North Africans. Of these:
- 149 were non-Germans
- 68 were asylum seekers
- 18 were illegally residing in Germany
- 47 were labelled as having ‘undetermined legal status’
The trend between immigration and crime is not new. In 2005, the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention comissioned a study on the background of crime suspects. Foreigners, who at the time compromised 13.1% of the population, made up 25% of all criminal suspects, while those born to Swedish parents, making up 74.5% of the population, were just 58.9% of crime suspects.
Multiculturalism is often presented as a black and white issue – either different cultures can mix peacefully, or then cannot. The truth could not be further from this claim – different cultures mix together perfectly well. Clashes of value systems are what undermine multicultural societies. The value system of Syrians is not the same as the value systems of Germans, and thus we have conflict.
Nobody would ask for Israel to take in hundreds of thousands of Palestinian or Syrian refugees, because there would be a clash of values. Nobody would ask Armenia to do it, either. Or Japan, or Thailand. In our arrogance, some have managed to convince ourselves that our ‘post-prejudiced’ continent was capable of taking in hundreds of thousands of cultural aliens. The truth is radically different.
Our value systems are derived from our morality – what we see as right and wrong. Did we truly expect Syrian refugees to compromise on their morality systems when they came here?
Of course, they have not done this.
I am certainly not suggesting that these people do not have the right to live in peace, free from war, but if they seek to do so, they should do it in a country better suited to their culture and ways. If they can, they should return to fight, to stand up for whatever they believe in. If I truly believed a particular faction in Syria could bring peace and stability to the region, ending the flow of refugees north to Europe, I wouldn’t hesitate to throw my support behind western military and financial backing.
Our leaders, also, must step up to the problem and ensure our borders are strong and the law is enforced. The abolition of the Dublin Regulation has lead to an inevitable rise in ‘asylum shopping’, where prospective refugees apply for asylum in multiple wealthy nations with a high standard of living, then accepting the best deal they get. In effect, the nations of Europe are spread out like a buffet. Pick one, sir. That is not asylum – it is us being played for fools.