Socialist Worker

EU border force Frontex - now with guns to use on migrants

Issue No. 2621

There will be 10,000 new border force guards, and they will have guns

There will be 10,000 new border force guards, and they will have guns (Pic: FRONTEX/Flickr)


When the Syrian regime begins its latest bloody assault on its own people, politicians in Europe will be ready to feign sorrow for the victims.

The regime of dictator Bashar al-Assad is preparing to crush the rebel stronghold in Idlib, north west Syria. It will be the one of the last acts in the tragedy of Syria’s failed popular uprising.

Tens of thousands of ordinary people have already begun fleeing as pro-Assad forces have shelled front line towns and villages. The United Nations believes that more than 30,500 people have left their homes, and that most of them are heading for neighbouring Turkey.

Western governments have issued threats against Assad, supposedly on behalf of the Syrian people. But if any of those people try to reach the comparative safety of Europe they’ll be met with more violence, more men with guns.

The European Union (EU) is about to beef up its border force, all with the aim of keeping refugees out.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker was set to announce on Wednesday plans for a 10,000 strong border army—with new powers to carry and use guns.

The new guards will have the power to use armed force to stop refugees entering Europe, to stop them travelling between European countries and to deport them.

Desperate people fleeing war and poverty are already confronted with tear gas and barbed wire when they try to enter Europe. Now they’ll face bullets too.

Tens of thousands of people trying to reach safety by boat have drowned in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. Those caught by EU patrol boats are sent back to the dangerous places they’ve come from, such as Libya. If not, they’re locked up in vast, squalid refugee camps.

Overcrowded

Refugee camps in Greece are so overcrowded that Amnesty International has branded the situation a “humanitarian crisis”.

People in the notorious Moria camp on the island of Lesvos are forced to squeeze together 150 to a tent. Broken sewage pipes fill the camp with a toxic stench.

An EU deal is meant to see refugees deported from Greece to Turkey. In reality, refugees have stayed stuck in the camps.

Yet instead of finding them a safe place to live, the Greek government has announced plans to open up more camps on the mainland.

It’s all a product of the contempt European governments have for refugees. The EU’s plans for its new border army say it’s a response to “the demographic dynamics and instability in Europe’s neighbourhood”.

That’s a racist euphemism for “we don’t want them coming over here”.

Europe’s politicians don’t want to help refugees from Syria or anywhere else. So they come up with ever more brutal ways of keeping them out.


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