The doors of Europe

Which common immigration policy?

Nobody can deny that post-war Europe has greatly contributed to communality, starting from the production of coal and steel in 1952 to commercial regulations, from agricultural policy to the recent single currency; with generally positive results for democracy and citizenship. At the same time, unfortunately, enlarged Europe, ensuing the fall of the Berlin Wall, is yet unable to grant a common and endorsable immigration policy to its institutions and to its Member States’ governments. This also happens elsewhere (foreign affairs, education, public health), with different degrees of intensity, but the quasi-anarchic confusion marking the handling of the problem of border control at national level is a gap which Brussels has the moral and political obligation to bridge. Without being able to count on the “luxury” of long waits which history usually offers to social transformations. Over the past twenty years the phenomenon of legal and illegal migrations to Europe – also intra-European- has grown to the extent that many of the poorly-concerted buffer provisions adopted by governments with different ideological factions are totally inadequate.The “multidisciplinary” nature of the problem doesn’t benefit its solutions. Factors at stake include the increasing poverty of the Western world; racism (blatant and concealed), which is placed over the issue like a not always invisible – albeit always present – façade; the meagerness of intercultural dialogue, most of which is politicized and thus doomed to failure; the high economic costs of land and sea-border monitoring operations, where Northern Europe dismissingly ascribes the sole jurisdiction to South-European Countries; the difficult identification of integration measures which are at the same time flexible and shared by all States, Regions, Cities and enterprises; different national legislations which enable – especially as relates to clandestine immigration – a sort of “calculated planning” of migration flows by the mob and by the migrants themselves, according to whether the punishment is light or harsh; a substantially poor cooperation between the authorities in charge which suffer the absence of a recognized political and juridical Community policy; and last but not least, the inability of the European Council and its member Heads of Government and State to define a single diplomatic negotiation strategy with the Governments of the migrants’ Countries of departure. This is true despite the (mild) forecasts put down in the Treaties. Its unavoidable consequence is that the scarce valid administrative measures – sparingly adopted across the corners of the Continent – are neither enhanced nor diffused. The same is true for the numerous remarkable ad lib initiatives by private individuals and/or associations on both shores on the Mediterranean, doomed to restricted scope, success and follow-up.While politics’ failure is evident, the need to (re) constitute common immigration policy is equally evident, taking the positive cases in the so-called civil society as the point of departure. Good practices are often the cornerstone of solid buildings, as European integration history is evidence of. In the realm of migration and integration, when the person is placed at the centre – with his tragedies and with his yearning for payback and progress – the results are under everyone’s eyes. Immigration doesn’t only mean public order. It also means human rights, respect, solidarity, social progress, and economic development. This is true for the Country of arrival and for asylum-seekers. Regulations ought to be planned by virtue of the human – not only humanitarian – dimension. Politics will follow on, and so will the populations.

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