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What’s wrong with migrant quotas?


Author: Justas Stankevičius

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Last year on June 7th many EU Eastern European countries have signed a letter rejecting the current migrant quota policy. Among these countries were not only traditionally dissatisfied countries from the Visegrad Group but also the Baltic States. This shows that members of mentioned states clearly understand that something is fundamentally wrong with the current EU migration policy. Unfortunately, we have not yet heard any reaction from the Western EU members. What determinates such attitude of the Baltic and Visegrad countries towards the current EU migration policy of quotas? 


What‘s wrong with the migrant quotas? 

Migration can be beneficial or detrimental to the state depending on the policies that people are admitted to. The EU‘s current open border policy is detrimental to national security. This is evidenced by the fact that people from terrorist organizations come to Europe along with refugees. After all, this is a threat not only to national security also to freedom of expression (the case of Je suis Charlie). The free movement of people costs and manifests itself only in simply arriving people and the problems of their inculturation, but also in the infiltration of these people into organizations such as ISIS: In 2016 Europol said that there are between 3,000 and 5,000 people in the EU who have been trained in ISIS and currently live in Europe. In other words, open border policy ignores the principle that what matters isn’t quantity but quality: we can afford to imagine what it would be like if higher education institutions accepted future students not by their quality (good grades, etc.) but by quotas (quantity). Migrant quotas next to everything can create social tensions between arrivals and locations thus demotivating migrants themselves to behave in a way that they would be covered in the countries they have arrived in. Social exclusion creates excellent ground for outbreaks of violence and the emergence of decentralized areas (Sweden‘s experience with non-gone zones). 

In 2016 following BREXIT a referendum on the EU migration policy also took place in Hungary. Voters were asked if they „would like the EU to have the right to compulsorily transfer non-Hungarian citizens to Hungary even without the consent of the (Hungarian) National Assembly (Parliament of Hungary?“. In the matter of objectivity it is true that although the referendum is considered to have failed, 44% of Hungarian voters came to express their will of which more than 09% responded negatively to EU migration policy thus supporting their government‘s position against refugee quotas. From these figures, we can conclude that the clear majority of the Hungarian population does not want migrant quotas in their country. However, Hungary is not alone and it is supported by other Visegrad countries and now the Baltic States. Another problem is that the vast majority of refugees do not fit in the 1951 definition of a refugee in the Geneva Convention and the people accepted by quotas divide Europe from the inside into open Western Europe and a more conservative central-Eastern Europe. It is unlikely that for example, Lithuanian people are mentally different from their Latvian or Estonian neighbors or not from so far away from Hungary. The possible reason why Lithuania refused to join the other Baltic countries immediately is the desire to make a useless decision to preserve a good diplomatic climate with the Western EU member. Despite the delay, we can be glad that Lithuania also joined this campaign when the executive takes into account the will of the local population and is not afraid to say a clear no when necessary. Lithuania became a member of the EU in 2004 and is a full member of the EU. It is worth remembering that the EU declares that it is oriented towards democracy and liberty so we must not be afraid to be the masters of our own country and not be afraid if our national interests differ from the EU. After all, the EU can only function properly for the benefit of all if it works together and takes into account the mental differences between East and West. This decision of Lithuania and other countries gives hope that after Britain‘s exit from the EU it will be possible to achieve more democracy and equality among the members. Perhaps this is a signing that a bureaucratic and traditionally less democratic and transparent European Union has the potential to reform and reduce integrity between countries to which a large proportion of the Europeans oppose.

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