The rise of terrorism has been a factor in the rise of far-right movements and anti-immigration campaigns that have seen birth to the increase of populism in many states, particularly within the European Union. Whilst being a member of the EU means that as a state you must adhere to certain policies that are applicable to all members of the Union, the rise in predominantly Islamic extremist attacks has created a reluctance by some to integrate refugees into their countries. The mostly Muslim refugees fleeing North Africa or the Middle East are now being rejected by some states, at a time when all EU states should be grouping together to fulfil their obligations to protect migrants that were established by the EU treaty.
The cost of terrorism is broad. Terror attacks affect the economy of each state in multiple aspects such as the loss of tourism (Paris suffered a €750m loss in tourism following terror attacks) (the Guardian, 2016); the State’s necessity to increase their defence spend in order to protect from further attacks (George Osborne dedicated £3.4bn extra on the country’s counter-terrorism efforts over five years) (Barber, 2015); the need to rebuild damage incurred from these attacks ($52.9billion in economic damages globally in 2014) (VICE News, 2014); often the necessity to spend billions in attempting to fight the sources of Islamic fundamentalism abroad, and as a consequence of this, states then have to spend money to house the innocent people fleeing the countries that have witnessed interventions or wars in the fight against ‘the war on terror’ (the EU alone allocated €17.7 billion from their budget towards migrants between 2015-2017) (Publications.europa.eu, 2017). Essentially it is an endless circle that continuously detriments the economy in one way or another.
Whilst some states are taking in a large proportion of refugees, and fulfilling their EU obligations – for example Germany “expects to spend around 93.6 billion euros by the end of 2020 (Reuters, 2016) – others have adopted a fearful approach and consequently rejected the acceptance of many migrants.
The backlash against the refugee crisis originated from the East – Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic rejected their responsibility claiming they must protect their own people based generally on security concerns “following a series of terror attacks carried out by Islamist militants in western Europe” (Kirby, 2017). They did this by forming a political alliance called Visegrad, which is a collection of four nations, the three mentioned and Slovakia (Economist.com, 2016). This backlash was partly due to the terrorist attacks that occurred in France, which sparked a very big worry in the East, with politicians gaining favour by speaking out against the EU’s choice to accept millions of people from the third world, most of which are Muslim, with Visegrad members claiming “the mainly-Muslim refugees have no place in their predominantly Christian societies” (Kirby, 2017). This is infuriating other EU members who are fulfilling their obligations and spending a large portion of their funds in order to help those affected. This division in the EU has led Brussels to sue Poland and its supporters (Kirby, 2017).
Populist parties in the West have also gained ground by criticising and openly opposing the idea of accepting so many refugees, Germany with the AfD and France with the National Front have both seen a rise of the more extreme right-wing parties (Joffe, 2017). These attacks have created disharmony within the EU and this demonstrates the resistance created against innocent Muslims due to the small minority who have carried out attacks in the name of Islam. Countries are losing patience to pick up the costs for the people affected in the aftermath of the fight against extremism.
The impact that terrorism and migration has on the economy is indisputable, but the rise of far-right populism is a non-effective way of combatting these issues. The rise of xenophobia by certain parties in Europe serve as a counterproductive method for decreasing Islamic terror attacks, as the more they are ostracised the more likely it is for the increase in radicalisation, in response against the West. As a consequence, states are risking their own economy by being uncooperative with the reforms laid out by the Commission as the EU use financial leverage to try to ensure the adherence by all States to honour their commitment to “European values, amongst them the rule of law”. This could mean funds are frozen and could potentially lead to further division within the EU.
Leila Lerari – M00559185
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Economist.com. (2016). Big, bad Visegrad. [online] Available at: https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21689629-migration-crisis-has-given-unsettling-new-direction-old-alliance-big-bad-visegrad [Accessed Dec. 2017].
Kirby, W. (2017). EU INFIGHTING: Brussels to SUE three member states for refusing to host asylum seekers. [online] Express.co.uk. Available at: https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/889103/eu-news-poland-hunagry-czech-republic-sue-asylum-seekers-europe-border-migrant-crisis [Accessed Dec. 2017].
Joffe, J. (2017). The right is rising and social democracy is dying across Europe – but why? | Josef Joffe. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/29/right-social-democracy-dying-europe-afd-far-right-germany [Accessed Dec. 2017].
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