Friday September 4, 2015
In the past week, the flood of undocumented and unregistered Middle Eastern and African migrants into the EU has become an inundation. The high water mark of the human tide is located in Hungary, which is not a logical outcome despite the country’s geographical position at the center of Europe. Understanding why is the key to understanding what is happening not in but to Europe.
After allowing unregistered migrants to board eastbound trains to Vienna and Munich, Hungary suddenly closed Budapest’s grand Keleti Train Station on Tuesday to migrants seeking transport to Germany via Austria and the Czech Republic. Thousands are now encamped outside the station surrounded by Hungarian police officers and the agents of smugglers’ networks. Until registered and approved for a Schengen visa, the immigrants are stranded and will most likely in time be sent back from whence they came. (Germany’s earlier relaxation of its national immigration rules was the source of Hungary’s confusion on Monday.)
The displaced crowd grows by the hour as waves of migrants continue arriving from the country’s southern border with Serbia after having first transited Macedonia at whose southern border the Greeks deliver busloads of successful migrants, an alarming number of whom have been plucked from the sea by European rescue ships before being deposited onto the Greek mainland.
But why tiny Macedonia, which is neither an EU or a NATO member? Why not equally accessible Albania or Bulgaria? What are EU instructions to its chattel state, Greece? Or, as Oriental Review contributor Andrew Korybko asks, “…why don’t the migrants just use mainland Greece as a stepping stone for a final boat ride to Italy?”