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Snippet Contents:

The world is watching what is happening in the US with horror as the attacks by Trump on migrants increase, with the upholding of the Muslim ban, the separation and caging of children of migrants and the speech he made to a conservative political action committee, PAC, in recent days in which he compared migrants with snakes, thereby very clearly dehumanising them. People are rightly horrified about that. Migration will feature heavily at this meeting of the European Council. The problem is that the same direction of travel is evident in what the EU and the governments of member states are doing. The walls of fortress Europe are being built higher and higher. They are being more militarised. The treatment of those who make it to the EU is getting worse. The consequence is that more people are dying in the Mediterranean. One estimate said that since Salvini in Italy turned away the Aquarius, the number of those dying has increased by 20%. The situation is symbolised by what is facing migrants on the MV Lifeline who are seeking to find a port, being rejected here, there and everywhere and being denied access for a period. That comes on the back of the Aquarius and the Alexander Maersk being told there is no room at the inn by a series of European Governments. Look at what Emmanuel Macron, who is supposedly a progressive figure and someone the Taoiseach looks up to, stated. He condemned the German NGO and indicated the migrants should have been left to the mercy of the Libyan coastguard. That is the Libyan coastguard which, according to the Irish office of Amnesty International, is intercepting people in distress at sea and transferring them to Libya where they are being held in detention centres and exposed to systematic and widespread human rights violations such as arbitrary detention, torture, rape and exploitation.
The policy of the European Union is the externalisation of Europe's borders, making deals with autocratic regimes in Turkey, Libya and elsewhere and the encouragement of human rights abuses to try to keep people away. It is a policy that is copied by Trump. The latter has externalised the American border by militarising the southern frontier with Mexico. The results in terms of whether it works or not are in. It has not reduced in any sense the number of migrants coming to the US but it has pushed people into taking more dangerous routes. It has increased their vulnerability to trafficking and criminals of all sorts. Exactly the same process happens in Europe by making migration more difficult. We saw what happened in Italy with the leader of the Lega, Matteo Salvini, sickly calling for a registry of Roma and their expulsion. We have the crisis in the German Government, the outcome of which will be a hardening of its line on migration. We know which way this is pointing in terms of European policy. It is reflected in the Meseberg Declaration of France and Germany. The latter identifies three key areas on migration and asylum and calls for increased support and co-operation with origin and transit countries building on existing partnerships such as the EU-Turkey statement - that is, externalisation - avoid departures to Europe, fight illegal migration and speed up the process of return. The declaration also refers to jointly and resolutely tackling secondary movements. The Government has echoed that line in replies to parliamentary questions, etc. That is clearly the direction in which it is pointing.
We need an end to fortress Europe. We need to put a stop to the racist immigration controls that are applied. The European Union and the countries that make it up also need to stop the policies that are responsible for or contribute very significantly to the crisis of migration. They need to stop the imperialist intervention in the Middle East, which is responsible for a flood of human misery, and the trade policies based on maximising profits of European corporations at the expense of those people and their economies. We need debt cancellations. We need trade policies based on assistance and solidarity. In short, we need socialist policies in Europe. It is an indictment of the capitalist system that there are 60 million refugees across the world. The way the capitalist governments of Europe and the EU treat them is a further indictment of that system.