Spotlight on Geopolitics

In December 2015, Project Syndicate published an article signed by Daniel Gros on the migration crisis facing the European Union. Over the following weeks, I and a few commentators such as Mr. Ulf Klein exchanged views and opinions in the “comment” section next to the article.

In short, this is what I had to say on the issue of illegal migration to Europe :

Florian Pantazi DEC 12, 2015
(…) The only significant breakthrough could be achieved if refugees picked up in Greek territorial waters could be re-admitted into Turkey the next day, which is not currently the case.(…)

Florian Pantazi DEC 15, 2015
@Klein & all commentators: Let’s face it, the only intelligent EU proposal so far is that of processing asylum seekers in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon and resettling them without putting their lives in danger as is the case now. This has been the UN standard procedure until recently and I believe the number of existing camps in Turkey should be complemented with at least an equal number of UN-run camps. This is indeed an area where the international community, with Turkish authorities, can jointly take responsibility for the fate of the migrants. Naturally, the existing and new refugee camps should be adequately financed and administered, which unfortunately hasn’t been the case in recent years. (…)

After these policies become operational, all migrants trying to reach Europe without lodging a prior asylum application with the UN authorities in Turkey, Jordan or Lebanon should be automatically returned to Turkey, which should drop its objections to their readmission. This solution is less convoluted and more logical than the miracle flying force peddled by EU federalists, which is downright ridiculous. Among other shortcomings, the new EU expanded Frontex proposals will not serve the well-being of would-be migrants and would only provide the illusion of a more secure continent.

If legal means of emigrating to the EU will thus be opened to refugees currently living in Middle Eastern camps, illegal migration will slow to a trickle and then stop. The solution of returning illegal migrants to Turkey has the added merit of not requiring additional personnel for securing the borders, whether in Greece or Turkey. READ LESS

In March 2015, Greece and Turkey and then the EU and Turkey signed an agreement built around the idea of more-or-less automatic readmission of illegal migrants to Turkey, in exchange for the EU admitting an equal number of refugees through legal channels, directly from camps in Turkey. Back in December 2015, the major policy ideas (to stem the flow of migrants) making the rounds were those of excluding Greece from Schengen and/or beefing up Frontex patrols in the Aegean.

One might be excused to think that, in the context of a severe migration crisis, a geopolitical consultant such as myself, with experience as a border guard in the 70s and as an asylum seeker in the 80s, would not have a problem in finding employment with the EU relevant agency, right ?

Wrong. Last October, among other job applications, I have answered an ad for a minor position with EASO (the European Asylum Support Office in Malta) as an Administrative Assistant, which closely matched my qualifications and experience. Does anyone believe they hired me ? Although the deadline for applications was December 2015, I got a “dear candidate” letter from EASO on the 22nd of March 2016, four days after the conclusion of the EU deal with Turkey:

“Thank you for considering us as a potential employer in your recent application for the above-mentioned position. We do appreciate the time and effort you spent in applying for the position.

Kindly be informed that regrettably, on this occasion, you have not been shortlisted.”

I am writing this not because I’m the complaining type, but because I am sick and tired of being asked by family members, friends or acquaintances why – with all my contributions, experience, qualifications, PR savvy and so on – I am still jobless, four years after graduating in geopolitics and international relations from Toulouse University.

The above documents serve to prove to them that, as usual, whilst my professional advice is considered good enough by eurocrats to use in formulating policy, I am never good enough to get a job.

It should no longer come as a surprise to the reader that so many professionals leave the EU in disgust, to find fulfilment on other continents. Meanwhile, the EU is becoming more and more dysfunctional by the day. For the past few years I, for one, have made the transition from a committed European to reluctant eurosceptic – a bitter experience, no doubt shared by many other EU citizens lately.

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