Syrian family displaced to Qaa in Lebanon. Credit: Freedom House via FlickrIt is the discursive construction of the
situation as 'crisis' that bestows justification to such cruel quick fixes as
the EU-Turkey accord that was adopted on Friday.
We should refuse to call it a 'crisis'. The
situation is grave, but hardly a crisis. There is an increased inflow of asylum
seekers and a number of European countries are refusing to process
asylum claims, although the EU has capacity, know-how, and funds (how about
that 6 billion given to Turkey to manage its asylum facilities?) to accommodate
This is not a masterful policy response to a
crisis, as the EU institutions’ narrative goes, but a de facto submission to the will of some countries to block
The EU-Turkey agreement is problematic
legally and morally, but as long as countries are refusing to process
asylum claims, there aren't a whole lot of other options.
This agreement might be genuinely aiming to
stop the life-threatening trafficking and smuggling from Turkey (as its authors
in the Dutch Labour party first conceived it), or it might aggravate the
problem, as Amnesty International warns.
In any case, the accord is likely to be used by
some EU member states as an excuse to continue shutting out asylum
seekers. The move to stop the injustice of human trafficking has thus
become yet another idea of the humanist left, hijacked by the xenophobic right
for the purposes of its reactionary agenda.
Yet, no clause in this by now infamous
agreement absolves EU members from their duties to accept the substantial
resettlement of refugees from the countries of entry, provide them with decent
living conditions, as well as the obligation of the EU to secure a safe path
into Europe for people fleeing war and persecution. This is what we should
be pressing for.