Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia has pointed out that the uncontrolled influx of foreigners into Europe continues to make it easier for terrorists and weapons to slip through the common European Union borders. Under Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany’s open-door policy towards immigration appears unchanged, even after Islamist attacks in France and Germany this month. In 2015, more than one million migrants entered the European Union, fleeing war and poverty in Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, and African countries.
In addition to concerns over the possibility of attacks by migrants who have settled in Europe, many of the deadly assailants have been radicals who were born and bred in Europe. Among them was the Muslim terrorist who barged into a Catholic church this week in France and murdered a priest during the celebration of a Mass. Another was the Muslim who mowed down revelers on Bastille Day in Nice, killing 84 and wounding scores. While he was born in Tunisia, he was raised in France from an early age and was a French citizen.
Unlike French Prime Minister Francois Hollande, who visited the scenes of recent Muslim carnage in his country, Merkel has been conspicuously absent at memorials and the scenes of similar violence in Germany, thus bringing into question her leadership skills. There is rising discontent in Germany over Merkel's immigration policies and the official response to violent incidents attributed to refugees.
Prime Minister Fico said in a news conference that there is an "absolute link between migration and terrorism.". He said, "It is clear that potential terrorists might have used uncontrolled migration not only for passage but also to bring weapons and explosives. It is clear that potential terrorists might have used uncontrolled migration.” He added, "Therefore the probability there might be more individual terror attacks is very high because there is potential for such attacks."
Currently, Slovakia holds the rotating presidency of the European Union for the rest of the year, promising to be an “honest broker” in disputes arising among the member states. Slovakia has been one of the toughest critics of the bloc's response to the migration crisis, expressing opposition to quotas for asylum seekers and while calling for secure borders. Fico expressed concern over the estimated 300,000 migrants in Europe (the majority of whom are in Germany) whose intentions and backgrounds are unknown to security and intelligence officials. "Anyone could have crossed the borders during the huge influx of illegal migrants. God knows what they had in their backpacks beside food and clothes."
In a press conference, Merkel sought to respond to critics who claimed that she has been largely silent over four Islamist terror incidents in Germany in less than a week. “We can manage it,” said Merkel, when asked about the connection between terror and her immigration policy. “And we’ve already done a lot of it in the past 11 months. Therefore, we will overcome the new challenges we are facing relating to Islamist terrorism.”
In 2015, Merkel famously said "Wir schaffen das" or "We can do this" when she took in a million migrants. At the press conference, she said: "I am still convinced today that "we can do it."
"It is our historic duty and this is a historic challenge in times of globalisation. We have already achieved very, very much in the last 11 months."
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.