Preparatory Program for Integration and Migration Zones
A balanced, constructive proposal of an European asylum and migration policy
Why "closing the borders" does not solve all problems
- There is no willingness of countries of origin to take back refused asylum seekers, neither of transit countries to allow extraterritorial refugee camps of the European Union - and there is no reason, why these countries should be more cooperative soon.
- Any formal and informal cooperation with transit countries means in the most important cases cooperation with warlords and acceptance of slavery and severe violations of human rights. This means not only combat against people smuggling in the Mediterranean, but also support new criminal business models with people who end up in the transit countries.
- The routinely expressed commitment, that Europe must "of course" work against the reasons for flight and provide more aid in the crisis areas and that "of course" asylum shall be awarded to everybody who really needs protection, is untrustworthy from several points of view:
- Since 2015, there was no change in foreign and trade policy, that would have been contributed to the reduction of reasons for flight. Instead, the foreign and energy policy of the right wing parties makes Europe even more dependent on regimes like Russia and Saudi Arabia, weakening any policy for peace and democracy.
- As long as it is impossible to apply for asylum at an embassy, also those refugees, who are entitled to asylum can reach Europe only under assistance of people smugglers.
- The basic assumption, that only a small share of the people who try migration to Europe would have accepted reasons for asylum, does not correspond to the recognition rates of the asylum authorities. It is an obvious intention, either to deny the right for asylum by applying international law in an inappropriate way ("war is no reason for asylum") or to pass the responsibility to care about refugees to close neighbors of the conflict countries ("safe third countries").
- So it seems logical, that the true reason for the plan of extraterritorial refugee camps is avoidance of public attention and rule of law standards concerning asylum procedure, similar to the "Australian example". Such a "solution" of the migratory pressure would also reduce all intentions to fight the reasons for flight.
- Trying to shirk responsibility instead of making our contribution within the international community would be not only inhuman and against all principles of solidarity, it can hit us later if we will need help ourselves. As we take part in a globalized economy and we are sourcing various resources from conflict regions and production sites with inacceptable working conditions, we are definitely involved in the reasons for flight.
Why "granting asylum to more refugees" does not solve all problems
Irrespective of the behavior of the individuals, these recent tendencies have been worsened by the counterproductive policy to grant integration support and access to the labour market only to recognised refugees after years of waiting for the decision of the asylum authority. But also a very forgiving and therefor apparently human and tolerant approach has unfavourable consequences: Denial of criminal acts and other problematic behaviour of migrants is also a blanket judgment, setting wrong incentives.
- Unregulated accommodation of people from conflict areas leads generally to the risk, that the conflict parties import the conflict itself to Europe.
- During the stream of refugees in the last years, but also within previous migration, among other migrants there is a rising number of those who behave in a way, that is incompatible with European societal norms concerning tolerance and equal rights, representing a threat to these hard-won rights.
- The persistence of inacceptable moral concepts in parallel societies makes the asylum system ineffective as refugees might end up in a community where they face the same problems they wanted to flee from. It represents a fundamental failure of the asylum system, if inside the European Union Chechen refugees can't declare themselves homosexual or afghan refugees can't convert to Cristianity.
- On the long run no receiving society can stand the situation that a significant part of the immigrants despise the way of life of the local population.
With a thoughtful guidance and control of migration, Europe can contribute more to the global demand in aid for refugees and bear less disadvantages and risks arising from the actual selection, that only the strongest pass the external borders. Such a guidance and control could be implemented as follows:
Preconditions for immigration and residence
In order to immigrate and stay within the regular territory of the European Union, with contact to the local population and the freedom of movement, the following preconditions must be fulfilled:
After a decision of a target member state for the individual migrant, first language skills can be acquired in courses. With regard to the fact, that real integration can only happen within the society, this program should be rather a crash-course in order to prepare for integration: Immediately after arrival it must be made clear, which rules and values are fundamental for the functioning of the European societies and that those who want to immigrate have only the choice to accept them or to withdraw their intention to immigrate. The existing practise that refugees immediately enter parallel societies with often problematic moral concepts and then wait for years before receiving specific integration measures and labour market access, should be stopped as soon as possible. Of course, it might be difficult to prove, wether the content of the preparatory course for integration has been really accepted or if the participants just fake willingness to accept European social rules and values. Nevertheless it is a significant improvement over the current state as not anyone is a good actor and afterwards, nobody can say, he or she had not been prepared appropriately.
- Either a recognised reason for flight following a human interpretation (i.e. recognition of war as a reason for flight and a fair asylum procedure with realistic demand for evidence) OR specific qualifications that meet the requirements of the labour market (of the whole EU or dedicated countries).
- As far as possible investigations concerning involvement in war crimes
- Participation in a preparatory course for integration, introducing way of life and social principles of European societies:
- Relationship between state and religion
- Equal rights of men and women
- The role of the family versus individual freedom
- Toleration in various dimensions (nationality, religion, sexual orientation)
- Realistic understanding of prosperity and its distribution (not every European has an expensive car, although you can see a lot of them on the roads!)
Two types of migration zones within the EU
In order to avoid collaboration with inacceptable regimes in countries of origin or transit, but also not to grant to migrants immediately after arrival full freedom of movement among the local population, special areas within the EU territory are required, where the mentioned procedures can be carried out. These "additional EU member state" could consist out of several enclaves, but each of them must have some minimum size as they should not have the nature of a camp or prison and a reasonable ratio of area and border length should be achieved. Larger former military training areas would be very suitable as they are usually already fenced and equipped with an airport. Further possible areas are recultivated mining areas or other larger, coherent, unpopulated areas which are already state-owned or can be purchased by the public.
These zones are divided into two types
This division shall prevent the case, that the preparation for integration of new migrants would take place in an environment that is already dominated by people who did not pass this preparation.
- Short-term transit zones where migrants stay not more than several months before they are allowed to settle regularly within the European Union
- Long-term residence zones, where migrants are relocated if they do not (or do no more) fulfil the requirements for regular immigration.
Possible migration movements
- Origin or transit country > regular EU territory: After prove of the preconditions including the preparatory program for integration abroad (e.g. at an embassy or cultural institute)
- Origin or transit country > transit zone
- External border or location of first contact with the authorities > Transit zone
- Transit zone > regular EU territory (after prove of the preconditions including the preparatory program in the transit zone)
- Transit zone > residence zone (in case of missing resp. not recognised preconditions and/or refused or unsuccessful preparatory program)
- Regular EU territory > residence zone (after relevant offences or other reasons to loose the right for residence in the regular EU territory)
- Residence zone > transit zone: "Second chance" to apply, mentioning changed circumstances or improved willingness for integration
- Transit zone > origin or transit country: voluntary return upon denial of the conditions for immigration
- Residence zone > origin or transit country: deportation if possible and acceptable concerning the human rights situation; otherwise only voluntary return
Administration and living standards in migration zones
This system of preconditions for immigration and special areas for those, who are in course of the immigration procedure or already refused to stay within the regular EU territory inhibits the business model of human traffickers and avoids dangerous attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea as effective as improved border protection, but at the same time, Europe would comply to its human rights obligations. Social cohesion would be much less threatened, than in case of uncontrolled migration. Nevertheless, the new rules must be intensely communicated in the origin and transit countries in order to be effective.
- Single administration by EU institutions and single asylum procedure regardless to the concrete geographic position of the zone
- For immigration upon qualification different criteria may be applied for different target countries (restricting the work permit to this country for several years)
- Migration zones are accessible for all EU citizens and others who are legally in the regular EU territory, thus automatically also for journalists, NGOs etc.
- The migrants have freedom of movement within the transit zone. Transportation between the individual enclaves might require significant effort (by plane or some kind of monitored transit through regular EU territory) and therefor might by not realistic within the rather short period migrants should stay in the transit zone, nevertheless it should be possible to make small enclaves less similar to a camp or prison and to make it possible to meet relatives in another enclave.
- Between the individual enclaves or parts of the residence zones, freedom of movement can be tactically restricted (also to specific individuals) in order to avoid problems from larger groups (e.g. former conflict parties).
- In transit zones as well as in residence zones, inhabitants can and should work: At least in order to supply the demand of the zones for products and services themselves, but maybe also to produce goods that are anyway traded on the global market, so it doesn't lead to relevant new competition to the EU labour market compared to existing low-wage regions (e.g. East Asia).
Jobs can be created by the administration of the zones or by companies opening up production sites there.
- It should not be possible to send money from the migration zones to the countries of origin to support relatives there or to pay off debt to human traffickers. This should be avoided by
support in kind instead of cash or by a system of coupons or special currency. People who already arrived in the regular EU territory should have full freedom what to do with their money, but they should be supported and informed, how to resist extortion attempts from traffickers and how to protect themselves against exploitation as illegal work or forced prostitution.
- Living conditions in migration zones must be human and decent concerning sufficient supply and adequate accomodation. Work organised by the administration of the zone must not be similar to forced labour camps. Anyway, depending on the further development of migration, it is conceivable that the number of inhabitants will exceed the capacity of the residence zones. Therefor, it is necessary to find a balance between adequate living conditions in the residence zone and sufficient incentive for voluntary return to the country of origin. It should not be desirable to migrate directly to the residence zone.
It is a question of transitional provisions, whether parts of the new concept should also be applied to people who immigrated in the past. Values and social rules which should be taught in the preparatory courses should be anyway communicated to those who came earlier too, either as media campaigns or as intensive courses at the occasion of real conflicts (similar to retraining concerning driving licenses after a severe traffic offence). In any case, the residence zones would be suitable for those people who should be already deported because of missing reasons for asylum and/or committed offences, but can not be deported as their countries of origin don't take them back.