Commentary: Some Simple Facts to Remember Regarding Europe’s ‘Scapegoating’ of Greece

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The European Commission said Greece had “seriously neglected” its obligations to control Europe’s Schengen zone and is threatening the country with expulsion from the passport-free zone. Global intelligence company Stratfor called it the scapegoating of Greece in a recent analysis. But Greece is an easy target given its geography and the fact that more than a million people have entered the country in the past year on their way to other European countries.

Before the world can point the finger at Greece, there are some simple facts to remember:

THERE’S A VISCOUS WAR GOING ON THAT EUROPE ISN’T TALKING ABOUT

There is a vicious civil war going on in Syria that has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people and has forced millions of people to flee for their lives as entire cities are being destroyed. While the entire world is captivated by the refugee crisis and the impact of the new arrival of 1 million people into Europe, we haven’t heard a single word out of the “Great Powers” of Europe either as a bloc, or as individual nations, about ending the war. A massive peace conference, a giant Davos summit with all parties involved. An emergency sit-down with all sides, the United States and Russia included. And by the way, where is the United Nations in all of this? Why isn’t anyone talking about stopping the war that has started this refugee crisis in the first place?

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Perhaps European governments want to watch this whole thing play out on its own and whichever side wins— the governments will send their defense companies, aircraft companies, construction companies and other multi-billion euro corporations to jockey for the rebuilding of Syria. And hey— let them destroy most of the country first, because there will be more for the big corporations to rebuild.

IT WAS ANGELA MERKEL WHO THREW OPEN EUROPE’S DOORS TO THE REFUGEES

It was German chancellor Angela Merkel who swung open her country’s doors to refugees from Syria fleeing the civil war there in early September 2015. Merkel, who the refugees dubbed “Mama Merkel” when she opened Germany’s border to them, can be blamed for sending a message across the Middle East that if refuges can make it to her country, they’ll be taken care of. “We can do it,” Mother Angela told her country and the world (as well as tens of thousands of desperate refugees on the other side of the Aegean).

Merkel’s newfound compassion, that prompted the German media to poke fun at her as the new German Mother Theresa, included visits to refugee centers throughout Germany where she posed for selfies with refugees. These images spread like wildfire across the social networks and refugees as far away as the Jordanian refugee camps were given an indirect message— if you can make it to Germany, Mother Merkel will take care of you, so go ahead, pay the smuggler, risk your life— just get to Germany.

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And now Greece is to blame for “neglecting” its responsibilities when you have an army of desperate people fleeing a war in their country, being told by the Chancellor of Germany and one of the continent’s most powerful leaders— come, and if you’re lucky, we might even get a selfie together.

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION HAS FAILED REPEATEDLY IN IMPLEMENTING ITS OWN PLANS TO DEAL WITH THE CRISIS

The European Commission launched a “structural EU-wide resettlement scheme” that was supposed to relocate 200,000 refugees across the continent, with country populations playing a statistical role in how many refugees each member would take. The results are pitiful: only 331 have been relocated so far. Proving that Brussels has absolutely zero power in implementing bloc-wide initiatives, numerous nation of the “union” balked at the plan.

EU leaders backed plans for a European Border and Coast Guard, aimed mainly at Greece and Italy, where most refugees have landed. Big promises were made to Greece for European help— everything from additional border control help to physical supplies like beds and blankets. The result: Europe has shortchanged Greece by providing smaller-than-promised numbers of everything from cots and fingerprinting machines to border guards.

AND THEN THERE’S THE CASE OF THE BRIBE TO TURKEY

And then there was the brilliant plan to offer Turkey €3 billion in cash to stop the flow of refugees to Greek islands. The Europeans sold their souls to the devil, offering the country a revitalization of EU accession talks and even consideration of visa-free travel for its citizens. The results have been staggering so far. The Turkish president asked for more money, the smuggling networks are not only function in full operation but there is hard evidence, as revealed by Greek president Prokopis Pavlopoulos, that the smugglers are working with the blessing and support of Turkish government officials.

IT’S THE LOGISTICS, STUPID

Greece has the 13th longest coastline in the world— 13,676 kilometers or almost 8500 miles. The Austrian interior minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said it was a myth that Greece’s coast line could not be protected. Well, it could— we would need naval vessels to extend from New York City to Los Angeles— THREE TIMES across, to protect Greece’s borders. In the words of a Greek Coast Guard official working the waters around Chios, “When you have 50 or 60 (migrant) boats daily, you understand that these vessels can’t cope.” In short, logistically speaking, all of the European Union’s combined national navy vessels couldn’t protect Greece’s border from the dozens upon dozens of speedboats, rubber dinghies and rickety wooden vessels that smugglers are using to get refugees across— in some distances so short, some people have even swam across.

“All of the navies of every European nation combined couldn’t patrol these waters and prevent these crossings. It’s just impossible, said a Greek coast guard official who obviously knows the waters a lot better than the technocrats in Europe. He added that “We have more than 8,500 miles of coastline and dozens of scattered Aegean islands between us and Turkey, Greece has, by far, the most difficult border to control in the world. And when you add the complicity of the Turkish officials into the mix and the smugglers’ ease at dumping thousands of people out to sea, not to mention the desperation of the fleeing refugees and the notion that this sea journey and the risk of death is a safer option for them than staying behind— well, you have a situation that is impossible to handle in the current way that our European leaders are proposing.”

NO THANKS BELGIUM, YOU BUILD A DACHAU OF THE 21st CENTURY

Another brilliant European plan— this one proposed by the Belgian migration minister Theo Francken to build a “closed facility” in Greece that would house 300,000 refugees— in other words a modern way of saying a concentration camp. This ridiculous plan to build such a camp whose heritage lies deep in the annals of the darkest years of European history deserves nothing but a reminder to Mr. Francken that Europe tried camps already— they were called names like Dachau, Treblinka and Auschwitz— and the outcome wasn’t nice. No, Mr. Francken— Europe doesn’t need 21st century concentration camps.

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