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by Thierry Meyssan

Migrants arriving in Europe by boat

Triggered by the coordinated publication of the photograph of a young Kurdish child, Aylan Kurdi, drowned on a Turkish beach on the 3rd September 2015, European public opinion mobilised and mounted various demonstrations in favour of the refugees. Immediately, French President François Hollande and the chancellor of the German Federation Angela Merkel pronounced themselves favourable to a «permanent and obligatory European system of accomodation», while an immense crowd of people of mysterious origin began its progression across the Balkans. Only the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, spoke out against this sudden and massive migration.

The ESI proposal

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.

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Arrival in Greece of Afghan migrants from Turkey

«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.

And yet,

  • 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» [1], such as that observed by ESI researchers during the start of the war in Kosovo [2].

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 [3].

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.

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