On Friday February 12th the EU commission sent another intolerable ultimatum to Greece. If the country does not tighten its borders and install immediately the so called hotspots for the registration and segregation of the incoming migrants, it will be expelled from the Schengen community. The ultimatums imposed on Greece in all these last months and years – via the threat of a Grexit – were put in force on the skin of those suffering from the effects of austerity measures; this one – now via the threat to exit the Schengen space – is played out on the skin of migrants. This does not only show the arrogance of the European institutions, it also demonstrates which measures the EU is willing to apply in order to stop the flow of migrants from crossing its borders. It becomes clear when we look at the militarization of the Aegean Sea, where NATO ships are positioned to stop migrants from arriving in Greece – the Schengen space. It is evident at the Greek-Macedonian border where migrants are deported, segregated and selected, like numbers and shares. Furthermore, establishing Turkey as a “buffer zone” with detention centers directly connected to warehouses where refugees, adult and children, are put to work for free, exemplifies once more of what it means for the EU to handle the “migrant crisis”.
On its external borders the EU wages again a “war on migrants and refugees” and performs its leading role as a cause of impoverishment and injustice.
However, this war against migrants and refugees does not happen only at the EU external borders. The internal borders of Europe are all the more effective, as the proposal of suspending the Schengen agreement on free movement shows. The tension between the EU administration and the member states shows that the force of the migrant movement is challenging the EU constitution in its innermost. While many of the member states “reclaim” their right to exploit and limit the migrants’ movements in their own way – be it by closing its frontiers, like Hungary, or by robbing the migrants of their goods, as in Denmark, or by introducing stricter and stricter caps on asylum and immigration claims, as in Austria, –, the EU is clearly attempting to turn millions of men and women into work animals. And it does so by approving measures that are the continuation of austerity by other means. The blackmail of the residence permit, the extreme precarity to which migrants are destined, the cuts in welfare and wages – these are more and more internal boundaries that affect the life of millions of migrants. These measures go exactly in the same direction as the austerity measures we know with their effects on the life of millions of European citizens: insecurity of life, poverty, instability of social rights, precarization in the workplaces, divisions that make it all more difficult to build a common opposition.
This is not the Europe we want!
We do not want to remain silent or just declare our solidarity from a distance. Instead, with decisiveness we demand the rights and social justice for all – by claiming the freedom of movement and an unconditional residence permit for all those arriving and traveling in Europe, by fighting against each border that is meant to weaken the project of a Europe for all.
- On the 1st of March we have the occasion to express our refusal of the way in which the EU is handling its “migrant crisis” by calling to participate in the transnational day of action against borders and precarization, promoted by the Transnational Social Strike Platform and in which almost twenty cities throughout Europe are taking part.
- We will do it also in Greece, on the 5th of March, when activists in Greece will rally against the detention centers, the hot spots and the militarization of the Aegean.
- In the upcoming months we will support the fight against the EU border policies along the Balkan route where numerous groups organize the opposition against the deportation and detention of incoming migrants, and we will support as well a transnational campaign against all fences.
- And finally we support to all the already planned and future initiatives of mobilization targeting the attempt to restore the internal borders in Schengen area, as the Austrian Government is preparing on the frontier with Slovenia (Spielfeld) and Italy (in particular the Brenner and Tarvisio). Disobey the borders regime of control, spreading on transnational level all possible practices in solidarity and in sabotage of its barbed-wire fences, it is at this time not only a right, but a duty.
On the side of the migrants!
Freedom of movement, freedom from austerity!
Blockupy International, Feb. 23rd 2016