OPINION

Immigration policy

The massive rise in illegal immigration over the last few years is not without consequences. Indeed it has provoked a transformation of European societies. The creed of the multicultural society may suit new countries such as the USA, Canada and Australia, but it does not seem to sit comfortably with a Europe of nation states. The tradition of political asylum, which has prevailed for the past few decades, and the mass immigration we are now witnessing, are two very different things. European governments have been trying to crack down on migrants illegally entering their countries, but in practice they generally tolerate those who succeed – one way or another – in establishing themselves on their soil. This self-contradicting policy has not merely failed to improve the situation but has actually worsened it. The fact that many migrants succeed in establishing themselves in the «Promised Land» boosts the hopes of other would-be migrants and encourages more and more inhabitants of the developing world to take the plunge. But, however understandable their desire for a better life may be, mass immigration toward the West is not the answer. Greece, in its role as EU president, is obliged to lead the search for a solution. Stricter border controls and repatriation are crucial. But for real results, these must be in parallel to investment in the poor countries being left behind.