THE BLOG

Merkel's Welcome of Migrants Is a Colossal, Historic Mistake for the European Union

21/09/2015 17:32 | Updated 21 September 2016

If politicians in a democracy are servants of the people, then the question, 'Just who are the people?' is surely one of the most important questions of our time. Over generations the ebbs and flows of a democracy's population grows and shrinks according to numerous factors - births, deaths, immigration, emigration and economic stability and growth. It is the job of politicians in a democracy to take account of demographic changes. The provision of the public services and the infrastructure projects at the heart of a civilised society depends on planners knowing just how many people they are providing and budgeting for. Politicians who actively attempt to transform the fortunes of their nation by manipulating population figures, have quite rightly been shunned by democrats everywhere because the effects are so unpredictable - China being an obvious case in point.

This is why Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel's perceived opened-ended welcome to ALL migrants is a colossal, historic mistake for the European Union. It's political folly on a grand scale. Her decision sent a powerful message to migrants, whether refugee or economic, that irrespective of international law, Germany was now a viable destination to go. Any basic research on what tools migrants use to navigate their way from safe havens in Turkey and Jordan shows that social media, amplified by word of mouth communication, plays a huge part in both the decision whether to migrate and a migrant's destination of choice. This increases the speed and numbers of those wishing to leave the safe havens where many currently reside.

Failing to listen to those who understood the causes of migration, understand the availability of modern technology and the power of people traffickers has resulted in Germany's volte-face on accepting all migrants and its desperate need to distribute colossal numbers of people to other EU states. The Chancellor's overall strategy of berating member states on how they cope with the great migration was flawed to begin with and ironically her open-ended refugee pledge has made matters worse for those same states.

So what does the world do now? What should the response be of caring nations and people everywhere to the humanitarian crisis we see unfolding before our eyes? Well first, because the 'pull factor' for refugees and economic migrants from North Africa and the Mid-East is now super-charged by German statements and sentiments it is incumbent on Germany to properly register all the migrants who are now being funnelled to them from their eastern European neighbours. Simply put, Germany's neighbours cannot cope with the consequent rush encouraged by Germany's actions. Second, the UK should maintain its funding for the safe zone camps in Lebanon and Turkey. Other wealthy UN countries should step up and match UK economic efforts in this area. Third, the UK needs to play apart in international, United Nations-led action that will ultimately be required to extend the 'safe zones' in Lebanon into north Syria so that the refugee flow from that war torn country into the European Union and elsewhere is reduced.

Finally, for the UK, it is essential that we protect ourselves from the 'blow back' from Germany's dominance of the migration debate in Europe. The biggest part of this will be when EU countries which are forced to take refugee quotas, decide that the easiest way to alleviate the pressure on their public services and infrastructures is to issue migrants documents that allow them to travel anywhere in the EU under the free movement of people principles. Before this happens it is essential that Britain opt of out of this principle and the only way it can do this is to leave the European Union.

Steven Woolfe is a Ukip MEP for the North West, and the party migration and financial affairs spokesman