Europe had better brace itself for a fresh flood of refugees from the Middle East writes Dimitri Gonis, the subject coordinator for Ethnic and Civil Conflict in Southern Europe at La Trobe University.
In an article appearing in The Australian, Gonis said US President Donald Trump’s recent blunder in allowing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to invade northern Syria will, in the coming months, see thousands of displaced people heading to Europe, with Greece being the first to receive them.
Greece has borne the brunt of a range of catastrophic Middle Eastern and Balkan policies emanating from the US, and also the European Union through its Dublin Regulation – established in 1990 and reformed in 2003 – which ensures that people who claim refugee status have to be processed at their first port of call within the EU.
What was farsighted for Brussels has proved catastrophic for Greece. In 2015 alone, one million refugees poured into the country and trudged through the Balkans on their way to Germany, other northern European states and Britain.
Tourism, a vital part of the Greek economy, has been decimated under the strain of accommodating hundreds of thousands of destitute and desperate people. Greece already struggling with a crippling economic crisis has had to contend with the decline of a key industry.
Greece, which has become Europe’s toilet, is now full. With the EU paid billions to Turkey to try and contain the human tide, the signs are that the ongoing Libyan crisis, unrest in Lebanon and Iraq and the Erdogan incursion into northern Syria all point to a fresh wave of refugees heading towards southern Europe in the near future.
Greece and Turkey ironically have something in common in as Turkey also is central to the EU “waste management” experiment.
The feeling in the Middle East and southern Europe is that they do not really matter to the powers that be. When asked whether Islamic State fighters would escape in the chaos of the Turkish invasion of Syria, President Trump replied: “they will head for Europe; that’s where they want to go.”