The war in Ukraine has exposed the European Union’s imperialist hypocrisy in many ways, particularly when it comes to its treatment of people fleeing conflicts. From the beginning, there have been many reports of refugees from Africa and Asia being deprioritized over white refugees and experiencing racism and violence at European borders.
As the weeks go by, the refugee crisis is intensifying. Four million people have already left Ukraine, with forecasts suggesting that the number could reach 10 million.
Faced with this situation, the European Commission is making up to 17 billion euros ($19 billion) available to help member states receive refugees. The Commission has also developed a plan to evenly distribute refugees among EU countries to relieve the situation in Ukraine’s bordering countries. At over 2 million, Poland has received the most refugees since the beginning of the conflict. The plan also includes the development of a single, centralized platform for registering people crossing borders.
More Money for Arms than for Refugees
Germany and Poland are claiming 1,000 euros ($1,115) from Brussels for each person they take in. According to Polish estimates, the country has already spent over 2.2 billion euros ($2.45 billion) on humanitarian assistance to refugees.
Imperialist Europe discusses the “costs” of welcoming refugees, all while they “invest” billions of euros in their militarist rearmament. There is no doubt as to the priorities of “Fortress Europe” which, as part of NATO, bears responsibility for this conflict and thus its ensuing humanitarian crisis.
In fact, Germany announced a historic increase in its military budget a few weeks ago. This imperialist country alone, out of the 27 that make up the EU, is going to invest 150 billion euros ($167 billion) this year in its rearmament — 133 billion ($148billion) more than the 17 billion euros that Brussels is allocating to help receive refugees.
Not All Refugees Matter
In addition to the racist treatment of refugees at the borders, the attention that the mainstream media and the EU are giving to Ukrainian refugees is in stark contrast to that received by refugees from other conflicts, such as from Syria and Afghanistan.
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Thousands of these refugees are abandoned in precarious camps and in terrible living conditions, prevented from entering Europe. The EU outsources the closure of its borders to countries like Turkey and Morocco.
Precisely to protect its southern border, the Spanish government recently recognized the occupation of Western Sahara by the Moroccan state. Thus the right of self-determination of the Saharawi people was trampled on in exchange for preventing refugees from entering Ceuta and Melilla — a huge concession to the regime of Mohamed VI in exchange for border repression. The working class in Europe must show solidarity with refugees from all countries, mobilizing in their defense. We must also reject our governments’ attempts to divide us along racial lines, and fight to bring an end to violent borders.
Originally published in Spanish on March 28 in La Izquierda Diario.
Translation by Otto Fors