Relocation of Migrants in need of International Protection (Opt-in Decision)

Part of European Union (Approvals) Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 6:31 pm on 14th December 2015.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Chair, European Scrutiny Committee 6:31 pm, 14th December 2015

There is the case of Germany, to come straight to the point.

At the meeting it was discussed whether the 28 member states represented there, excluding us and Ireland because we are not part of Schengen, would welcome the proposals that were set out in the motion. In a nutshell, the countries concerned—the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania—were being told that they should go along with these mandatory arrangements irrespective of their resentment about that, their parliamentary votes against it, and their application to the European Court of Justice. As the Minister said, Hungary and Slovakia had brought proceedings in the Court of Justice to challenge the validity of this. These countries were, in effect, being told that they were wrong, and that in saying that the motion should merely “take note” of the relocation proposals, which was almost over-generous of them in the circumstances, they were refusing to accept the notion that they should welcome it. That is what led to the explosion. The debate went on for nearly four hours. This must not be underestimated. It is not just something to be floated over as, with respect, the Minister did; I understand why he probably did so. It is fissile material. It is a perfect example of the total want of democracy in the European Union in imposing, by mandatory arrangements, a settlement on countries that simply do not want it. It is a perfect example of what I have described as the compression chamber blowing up in such circumstances.

That is the background against which we should consider this. It is not just a question of whether we like it or not, but of how the European Union operates in practice. One need only look at how the Greeks were treated by the Germans with regard to the whole austerity programme or how the Portuguese president, a few weeks ago, disregarded, ignored and refused to accept the decision of the voters by not acknowledging the new party of government. The list is considerable, and, as far as I am concerned, that is the basis against which this issue ought to be judged.

I am, of course, delighted, but not surprised, that the Government have decided not to opt into the arrangements. I say with enthusiasm that our policy of trying to deal with the problem of refugees at source, which I have applauded from the very beginning, is the best way to go about it, not to allow these people in. At Friday’s meeting, the issue was raised of why Germany took the line it did. The answer, as I have said on the Floor of the House on a number of occasions over the past couple of months, is that it was very much to do with its desire to have more people working in the country, not just for altruistic reasons but for economic reasons. It wants to compensate for the fact that it will soon have a much lower working-age population. It made the decision because that is what Germany wants, irrespective of the impact it will have on the European Union. Angela Merkel’s popularity happens to have plummeted over the past few weeks because, in my opinion and that of many other commentators, she has misjudged the situation.

The real point is that, to bring in 1 million people to Germany—that is basically what is happening—is not the end but the beginning of the story. Those 1 million people will themselves have their own children and probably bring their families over as well, because the charter of fundamental rights will be made available to them. This is, in fact, an opening of what I described the other day as a tsunami.

On top of that—I have referred to this on a number of occasions on the Floor of the House—nobody can doubt for a moment that there are a number, albeit perhaps small, of jihadists among those people who have come over. The reality is that only a few are needed in order to wreak the kind of carnage and havoc that we witnessed in Paris. To those who would criticise people like me for mentioning that, I say that it is a fact that that is what is happening, and on a scale unprecedented since the second world war.