The summit of the European Council will start in the Spanish city of Seville today. Spain is being through with its six-month chairmanship at the EU, Denmark will take its place from July 1.
The major subject that is going to be discussed at the summit is the struggle with illegal immigration. This is the most important problem for the European countries currently. According to the information from the European Union, there are more than a million of immigrants settling in the countries of Europe annually – 680 thousand of legal immigrants and 500 thousand of illegal ones. The European countries perceive this process as rather a serious threat to stability. The issue of illegal immigration is not new at all, but it has been paid a lot of attention to lately.
This can be explained not only with the wild inflow of illegal immigrants, but also with the success of various political parties of ultra-right orientation. Ultra-right parties do not hesitate to say it out loud that immigrants is Europe’s major trouble. This simple motto echoed in Europeans’ hearts, other politicians started talking about it too, but with the use of other words that did not change the sense of the issue.
It deems that Europeans connect the issue of illegal immigration with the problem of the status of the Russian Kaliningrad region. We would like to remind you here that the citizens of the Russian enclave can visit Poland and Lithuania without any restrictions currently. However, after these two states join the European Union in 2003, the citizens of the Kaliningrad region will have to get visas not only for travelling to neighboring countries, but also for travelling to Russia. Needless to mention that this is not good either for the Russian government or for those, who live in the enclave, taking into consideration the fact that a lot of them earn money driving used cars from Germany to Russia. The institution of the visa-entry order will destroy this business and a lot of people will lose their source of income.
They understand that problem at the European Union perfectly, but they are not going to compromise their principles. Europeans do not want to create a precedent, if they set up a privileged regime for the region, because this would have very negative consequences afterwards. Other countries could ask for exceptions as well, including would-be members of the EU. The latter is absolutely not ready for such development of the situation, so it is doing its best to prevent from it.
Kaliningrad regional governor Vladimir Yegorov said that the summit in Seville would discuss three variants of the future of the Russian region: the issue pertaining to the preservation of the non-visa traveling order for Russian citizens (from the territory of the Kaliningrad region to other Russian territory and back), the issue about Shengen visas for Kaliningrad region residents, and the issue about Shengen visas for all Russian people. It is hard to say, where governor’s optimism comes from – Shengen visas for all Russian citizens are not a matter of the foreseeable future.
Russian officials have recently set forth a “brilliant” initiative. They saw that negotiations regarding the issue of the Kaliningrad region were gradually reaching the deadlock, so they offered their own solution of the problem. This suggestion was rather a surprising one, to put it mildly. It was offered to seal train cars – the ones that travel from Kaliningrad to Russia via Lithuania’s territory, making passengers prisoners for a couple of hours. The European Union did not say a word about it, in spite of the fact that the Union is taking so much care of human rights.
Therefore, the leaders of the European Union that gathered in Seville would have to think it over a lot, together with the problem of terrorism. The summit started with a tragedy. Terrorists of the Basque organization ETA blew up a car that was parked at Malaga international airport. Six people were wounded, one of them is in a very hard condition right now. On June 13 the Spanish police found three hiding-places with 113 kilos of explosive not far from Valencia.
To crown it all, anti-globalists are doing their best to get to Spain. The Spanish government had to suspend the action of Shengen visas not to allow the inflow of globalization adversaries. We will find this out very soon, if that measure was efficient or not.
On the whole, the summit in Seville is starting its work in a very tense atmosphere. Will that affect the decision-making process? To what extent will those decisions meet the current requirements of the European political, economic and social situation?
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov