Saturday, January 20, 2024

Border and Immigration Concerns Are Deciding Elections in Europe; European Countries Tighten Borders; 11 Iranian Migrants Arrested While Trying to Enter Finland from Russia

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Border and Immigration Concerns Are Deciding Elections in Europe:
Loose immigration policies have generated a wave of frustration throughout the European Union. Governments with no plan or willingness to respond have suffered electoral defeat. Growing concern over unchecked illegal immigration will doubtless affect the 2024 U.S. elections, too.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government collapsed in July because his coalition partners could not reach an agreement on curbing immigration. In the subsequent election, Geert Wilders’ conservative Party for Freedom won an upset plurality.
Due to politically unacceptable levels of migration, other EU members have suspended the Schengen Treaty, imposing intra-EU border restrictions. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni reintroduced controls at Italy’s border with Slovenia in late October, saying increased illegal migration from the Middle East through the Balkans made it necessary.
Ten other Schengen Area states—Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden—have resumed border controls in recent months. The European Commission has proposed reintroducing visa requirements for non-EU countries over fears that the 60 countries given visa-free access could be transit hubs for migrants to cross borders illegally.
In late December, the EU agreed to a Pact on Migration and Asylum, which would tighten and coordinate asylum policies. Politically, the agreement is meant to blunt the rise of conservative parties that have targeted lax immigration in their campaigns.
Polls indicate that the European Conservatives and Reformists and Identity and Democracy parties could lead a shift to the right in the 2024 EU Parliament elections.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz broke with the typical pro-immigration message of his Social Democratic Party to protect his right flank from increasingly powerful conservative parties. Mr. Scholz says Germany must start large-scale deportations of migrants who don’t have the right to be in the country. Currently, only 1 in 6 failed asylum-seekers in the EU is actually deported.
Germany was expected to get about 300,000 asylum applications in 2023, over a quarter of the EU’s total. Mr. Scholz’s change in tone follows his coalition’s poor performance in the Bavaria and Hesse state elections in October, where two conservative parties, Alternative for Germany and Free Voters, did well. --->READ MORE HERE
REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo
European countries tighten borders:
The European Union is dealing with an increase in legal and illegal arrivals by migrants, prompting some member states to temporarily re-introduce border controls within what is normally a zone of free movement.
The bloc's Schengen rules allow such action "as a last resort" in cases that are deemed serious threats to internal security or public policy.
These countries have reinstated stricter checks:
* Austria introduced checks at its border with the Czech Republic in October, set to last until Feb. 16, 2024.
As of November, it extended border controls with Slovenia and Hungary until May 2024, and since December with Slovakia until Feb. 3, 2024, citing pressure on the asylum reception system, threats of arms trafficking, criminal networks linked to the war in Ukraine, and people smuggling.
* Denmark in August tightened border control for arrivals, including those from Schengen countries, at Copenhagen airport to boost security after incidents of Koran burnings.
It has prolonged checks on the Danish-German land border and in ports with ferry connections to Germany until May 2024, according to an EU commission report.
* France as of November reintroduced controls on its borders with Schengen countries, citing what it called terrorism threats. The controls should last until April 30, 2024.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin had announced reinforced security in October at the Belgian border after the killing of two people by an assailant in Brussels.
* Germany announced in September controls on its land borders with Poland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland, initially until Dec. 15 and on Friday extended them for another three months.
Berlin said it needed to respond to an immigration surge and high levels of smuggling.
Berlin has also extended land border checks with Austria until May 2024, citing strains on its asylum reception system, security threats linked to Middle East terrorism, and the war in Ukraine.
* Italy --->READ MORE HERE

+++++11 Iranian migrants arrested while trying to enter Finland from Russia+++++

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