Refugees: From Ukraine to the thorny fences of Melilla | Opinion

Twenty-three —or more— young people dead on the fences of Melilla and, once again, horror reigns. The question, the only central question, beyond the need to investigate the behavior of the security forces, leads, again, to the same paradox. The EU regrets the police actions on the thorny borders, but does not assume that it has thrown the stone first because both governments involved, Moroccan and Spanish, execute the same motto of the European Commission: limit at all costs the arrival of immigrants from the South. Since the creation of the common market in 1986, the EU has implemented a discriminatory paradigm that governs its vision of immigration: only “community citizens” or citizens of the European economic area can move and reside freely in the territory of the European market. The rest are awaiting legal immigrant status (which privileges “those we need”), or the stigma of clandestinity, which embodies a population inevitably more numerous due to demographic growth, poverty, social underdevelopment, a division of labor unbearably unequal regional balance between the African continent and Europe.

For more than 30 years this unwanted immigration has been fought with tools of war, 30 years that show us the reality of human tragedies, deaths in the deserts, in the Mediterranean, of persecutions in the streets and on the increasingly Armored Europe. And, meanwhile, migratory pressure and requests for asylum (and relief) have not stopped populating the daily life of European prosperity. The deadbolt of the Schengen agreements shattered in 2015 with the arrival of Syrian refugees, but the EU’s response remains to close the doors. It is what justifies that the dirty work is transferred to other gatekeeper countries of the entrances in Europe: Turkey, Libya, Morocco, etc.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine this year has cast a harsh and even more acid light on this European migratory impasse. The EU has generously opened its arms, dusting off its drawers an old directive from 2001 to authorize the legal reception of millions of Ukrainian refugees, without any control, and encouraging a wave of solidarity among European populations whose consequences cannot yet be measured. This gesture, in itself, could not leave indifferent the young Africans cornered for years on the other side of the Mediterranean. Spain has welcomed some 140,000 Ukrainians in a few months. The young people condemned today under the ground in Morocco probably thought that they could also take advantage of this generosity. They fooled themselves.

The EU, which does not stop advocating against global economic protectionism, at the same time opposes a ruthlessly protectionist labor market against the South. He knows that in this way he is condemning to despair those who, on this flank, seek to emigrate to live with dignity. If the EU does not want to open this market to workers from the South, it must at least adopt a global project, concerted, of regulated circulation and, above all, of effective co-development. It is time to finance real economic projects with the countries of origin and transit to stabilize the migratory petition. Between the gesture of welcome to the Ukrainians and the bloody reality on the Melilla fences, the historical responsibility and degree of humanity of the European Union wavers.

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