MEPs of the European Conservative and Reformist (ECR) Group met in Madrid for their annual Study Days starting on Tuesday, September 26th, to discuss the party’s most pressing challenges in the current legislative session. On the first day, focusing on security and border protection, the panelists agreed that the only way to solve the current migration crisis and keep Europe’s internal borders open is to ensure the external borders are fully protected, calling for a coalition of countries who are willing to defy Brussels’ threats and failed policies.
Moderating the panel, Spanish MEP Jorge Buxadé (VOX) began with some sobering statistics: According to Frontex, over 132,000 illegal entries were registered in the EU in the first six months of the year, which doesn’t even include the recent wave of record landings in Lampedusa. On the other hand, the Commission confirmed that only 20% of rejected asylum seekers have been deported.
Violent crimes, such as assaults, rapes, and murders are also on the rise. “Twenty years ago [Sweden] had the least amount of deadly shootings in the EU. Now we’re at the top,” Swedish MEP Charlie Weimers (SD) said, adding that kids in Swedish schools are being advised to dress poorly to avoid being robbed.
On top of that, as Buxadé noted, the EU is preparing to finalize its new Migration Pact, which will only make the crisis worse by further weakening member states’ ability to protect their borders and forcing them to accept mandatory relocations or pay tremendous amounts to Brussels. “You’ve got the Commission, the Parliament, and the Court of Justice on one side, and reality on the other,” he said.
No Schengen, no EU
“One of the greatest achievements of our Union is open borders,” Bulgarian MEP Angel Dzhambazki (VMRO) said, explaining that the free movement of people and goods is the backbone of the EU, and the first thing we risk losing by allowing unfettered illegal migration to continue. “It’s not possible to maintain open internal borders without closed external ones.”
The current crisis of Italy being overrun and all its neighbors being compelled to reintroduce border checkpoints clearly shows that the EU’s migration policy has failed as a whole. As Dzhambazki said, referencing Merkel’s famous rallying cry:
In eight years, we went from Wir schaffen das to Wir schaffen das nicht anymore.
Therefore, the EU needs to agree on fundamental changes to its migration policy, and very soon, the MEP noted, outlining the basic strategy to protect external borders.
First, Europe needs to build border walls. A well-equipped and manned infrastructure, “not these Mickey Mouse fences” that can be easily penetrated. Defending the maritime borders is not as simple, Dzhambazki admitted, but the solution is a straightforward one: “We need to push back the boats.”
Instead of processing asylum claims inside the EU, the MEPs proposed to establish reception centers outside the Union, in friendly countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Economic migrants with rejected asylum claims must be deported immediately. Human smugglers must be persecuted severely and their boats confiscated. NGOs that aid their work must be stopped and criminalized.
This is not an easy task, but one that needs to be done for the EU to survive, Dzhambaski said.
This is not a refugee crisis. This is illegal migration and human trafficking. We need to build a wall on our external borders or face the end of Schengen with more internal checkpoints and border controls. Where there are internal borders, there is no European Union, but only a Brussels bubble with no Wi-Fi connection to reality.
Our migration policy must not incentivize illegal migration. We need real policy changes and we can solve the issue by building Fortress Europe and defending our borders.
A “critical mass” against Brussels
Naturally, the biggest obstacle before such extensive reforms is Brussels itself with its left-liberal establishment. “Despite Europeans voting more and more conservative, in favor of less migration, nothing happens,” Charlie Weimers added, saying that European governments have allowed themselves to be threatened by Brussels.
If politicians know that the Commission can treat them like they treat Hungary or Poland (by withholding essential EU funds) or can facilitate a government collapse like in Italy, Weimers explained, no one dares to make the first move. “Just think of [ex-Italian PM] Salvini, who’s facing up to 15 years in prison for ‘kidnapping,’ simply because he stopped a boat,” he added.
Therefore, Weimers proposed the establishment of an
‘Australia Coalition’—a critical mass of countries in favor of blocking boats, making it politically impossible for the Commission to impose infringement procedures and intimidate countries who want to secure the borders.
The Australian model that Weimers referred to is based on two pillars: externalizing asylum procedures and forbidding anyone from ever coming back to the country if they once attempted to enter illegally.
The creation of such an alliance in Europe is only a question of political will, Weimers said. However, he noted that this determination is missing from most center-right parties of the EPP, which don’t seem to understand that the replacement of their culture is at stake.
Therefore, Europe needs more conservative governments and MEPs in the European Parliament, who will dare to stand up to the Commission, united. “Make the  elections a referendum on the future of Europe!” Weimers concluded.
Taking back the streets
Protecting external borders might solve the problem of future migration, but those who are already in still pose a threat, Samuel Vázquez, the President of the Spanish Police for the 21st Century association—which works toward creating a policing model more adapted to today’s realities—warned.
“The fact is that we’re not defending our civilization properly, and it’s being taken over by a stronger civilization,” Vázquez said, arguing that if law enforcement doesn’t change its lukewarm practices, gang violence, rapes, robberies, and murder will continue in Europe.
“If you’re old enough to rape someone, you’re old enough to pay for it in prison,” he said, adding that sentences must be longer and harsher to act as effective deterrence.
Furthermore, new strategies are needed to solve the gang issue which is more and more prevalent in many EU countries, like Sweden, France, Germany, and Spain. “We’ve given over whole districts to criminal mobs,” Vázquez said. But “wolves act in packs, we need to get to the heart of these,” he added. “Target the gang leaders and break up the gangs.”
Not hate, but “love speech”
Rocío de Meer, a Spanish MP for VOX talked about three myths that still shape our collective perception of the migration crisis.
The first myth is that migration has always been a part of European history, there’s nothing unusual now. “True, migration always existed, but so did invasion,” she said, adding that:
Cultural invasion is a genuine threat today. And it always happens in a vacuum. Europe was a cradle of civilization, but it has embraced a relativistic model which allows its culture to be replaced.
The second myth is that NGOs that ‘rescue’ migrants from the sea carry out an important humanitarian mission. But under maritime law, De Meer pointed out, the term “rescue” means saving people from an unforeseen accident, like a shipwreck, and taking them to the closest safe port.
What NGOs do, instead, is pick up migrants from their still intact boats right after they leave the African coasts and ferry them over to Europe. This is not rescue, she said, “this is trafficking and it must stop.”
The final myth regarding migration is that all of Europe benefits from multiculturalism. But the reality is that while some areas do benefit from the added labor, certain neighborhoods only experience lower wages, higher prices, and more crime. “Europe’s poorest citizens are being sacrificed by the politicians who forgot who they should be representing,” De Meer said.
After agreeing with the strategies outlined by her colleagues, she added that what Europe should first do is to hurry up and not be intimidated by the Left who try to portray the Right as extremists for wanting to protect their culture. As De Meer pointed out:
People talk about hate speech, but this is ‘love speech.’ We love our identity and that is why we want to defend it.