2016-02-01. The EU and the Migrants in the Balkan
The EU needs to act swiftly in order to come up with a sustainable policy and plan to address the unexpected in frequency and quantity phenomenon of illegal migration. If the EU fails to act swiftly then regions such as the Balkans will feel the repercussions of this inability.
In recent weeks many European states have been alarmed by the increasing influx of illegal immigrants to their lands. Some of them in the Balkans and central Europe have decided to boost their security measures and traffic control.
The movement of Hungary to erect a fence along its borders with Serbia and Croatia has prompted a domino effect in the relations with its neighbors. Subsequently other countries have also tightened their security and check- points until a unified EU policy could be shaped.
Indeed the need for an EU policy on migration is necessary in every sense, especially on humanitarian and security grounds. Given the large quota of the immigrants coming into Europe is growing swiftly and hundreds of thousands are on their way to Europe, it is necessary for the EU to act realistically and reasonable in order to balance between social cohesion, security and respect of human rights both of the immigrants and the EU citizens. The time is no more than 3-4 months and is provided by the weather conditions which in winter are expected to act as a deterrent for more immigrants to move into Europe. By spring new waves of immigrants will reach the European shores and by then Europe must be well prepared to address this humanitarian crisis. If it does not, then the future is not so promising and there are various scenarios already in this regard.
One of these scenarios which come up for the first time in this paper is the prospect of closing the EU borders in central Europe and having the migrants trapped in the Balkans. If the EU fails to reach a consensus about how the existing immigrant quota can be distributed amongst the member states and the issue of borders control and external EU borders patrol, then it is likely
That a large number of immigrants are trapped in the Balkans.
The EU and the Migrants in the Balkans migration routes resemble small rivers carrying water. When somebody tries to block these rivers in their way to the sea by erecting a dam, then the water is spread near the dam flooding the area outside the dam. In the case of migration flooding the Balkan Peninsula with the large population of Muslim migrants may have geopolitical repercussions.
Given that the current Muslim population of the Balkans is more than 10% of the total population and the fact that this percentage resides in specific regions-states as majority or minority, then one can expect what will happen if tens of thousands of Muslim refugees are blocked in a country where local Muslims reside.
Despite the fact that Balkan Muslim could see the immigrant Muslims as foreigners in their land, it will be easier for them to provide them with shelter and tolerant spirit because they are co-religionists. Actually such a development could absorb the majority of Muslim immigrants in countries with local Muslim population rather than in Balkan countries where there are no Muslims. In this case regions such as in Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYROM, Albania and Kosovo could see the rapid increase of their Muslim population within a relatively short period of time.
The creation of immigration hospitality centers in the Balkans could actually be the first step to absorb the immigrants in these societies and re-direct the destination of the immigrants from central and NW Europe to the Balkans. Such a re-direction could be facilitated through the existing charity networks and the emerging ISIS ones. Having in mind the aforementioned details about the influential social role of the charity networks, it is easy to imagine that a portion of these networks could be employed by ISIS for recruiting its forces in the region and elsewhere including the Black Sea and the Caucasus, as it has already been doing in recent years.
Today more than ever, the EU needs to act swiftly in order to come up with a sustainable policy and plan to address the unexpected in frequency and quantity phenomenon of illegal migration. Obviously neither the does EU have the remedy for all these issues, nor can it cure some of them in the short term. Thus it is necessary to have an EU plan in the next two months, i.e. by December – January, so that it can be able to start implementing as soon as possible before spring. If the EU fails to act swiftly then regions such as the Balkans might feel the repercussions of this inability