The Hirsi ruling: How Europe lost its way

by WorldTribune Staff, July 20, 2017

The 2012 Hirsi ruling by the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) was the spark that ignited the current situation in Europe, an analyst said.

“In a sense, Europe looks like a continent where American Democrats have been in power for 30 years, not only in the European states, but also at the level of the European Union,” Drieu Godefridi, a classical-liberal Belgian author and founder of the l’Institut Hayek in Brussels, wrote for Gatestone Institute on July 20.

Under the 2012 Hirsi ruling European states ‘have a legal obligation to rescue migrants wherever they find them in the Mediterranean Sea.’

“In the U.S., the political spectrum still spans a vast range of views between Democrats and Republicans, globalists and nationalists, pro-lifers and pro-choicers, pro-government control and pro-individuals’ control, and pro-whatever,” Godefridi wrote.

“Even today with a president and a Supreme Court clearly on the political ‘Right’ these divisions, and the all-important separation of powers, allow for and encourage vigorous debate. By contrast, in Europe, at the ‘official’ level, such a spectrum of views no longer exists.”

Those who in 1886 gave the Statue of Liberty to America “to commemorate the perseverance of freedom and democracy in the United States” are today “willingly trampling their own people’s liberties through courts of appointed, unelected, unaccountable ideologues,” Godefridi said.

The so-called “Hirsi” ruling, named after the court case of Hirsi Jamaa and Others v. Italy, states that the European states “have a legal obligation to rescue migrants wherever they find them in the Mediterranean Sea – even just 200 meters away from the Libyan coast – and ferry them to the European shores, so that these people can claim the status of refugee,” Godefridi wrote.

When the Italian Navy intercepted illegal migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and sent them back to their point of origin, Libya, “not only did the ECHR condemn Italy for this ‘obvious’ breach of human rights; the Italians had to pay 15,000 euros ($17,000) to each of these illegal migrants in the name of ‘moral damage.’ ” Godefridi noted. “This kind of money is equivalent to more than 10 years of income in Somalia and Eritrea (the countries of origin of Mr. Hirsi Jamaa and his companions). In 2016, Somalia’s GDP per capita was an estimated $400 USD; Eritrea’s $1,300.”

After the ruling, particularly in Africa, “many understood that if they could reach the Mediterranean, Europe’s navies would now be obliged to ferry them directly to Europe. Before the HIRSI ruling, when people tried to reach the shores of Europe, hundreds every year tragically died at sea. After HIRSI, the objective is now simply to be intercepted. Consequently, hundreds of thousands attempt this journey – often with the help of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), whose activists wait for boats to appear at sea, just off the Libyan coast. We therefore presently have 5,000 unintercepted people dying at sea every year.”

Today in Western Europe, politically speaking, in the press and in universities, “either you are on the ‘Left,’ or you are a pariah,” Godefridi wrote. “If you are a pariah, you are most likely to be prosecuted for ‘Islamophobia’, ‘racism’, discrimination or some other trumped up charge.”

In the United States, “especially since the advent of increased terrorism, the subject of illegal immigrants, migrant workers and the vetting of immigrants has become hotly debated,” Godefridi noted.

“By contrast, in Europe, the topic of ‘illegal’ migrants is effectively forbidden. The continent has recently been invaded by millions of migrants – many apparently arriving under the false pretense of being refugees, even according to the United Nations.”

The European people, “of course, still share the common values of Western civilization,” Godefridi wrote. “The Visegrad Group of countries in Central Europe, for instance – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – do not accept the German diktat to relocate Muslim refugees. Parts of Western Europe, such as the northern Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, are also pretty tired of the whole European mess, and (Angela) Merkel will not embody the leadership of Germany forever.”

Godefridi concluded: “Americans, therefore, would do well to understand that for the time being the ‘Cultural Left’ is so deeply entrenched in Western Europe and the EU, that their worst ideological enemy is not the Middle East or Russia: it is Europe.”

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