Author: JAMIE MACWHIRTER
The European Union is no longer a force for liberalisation and its approach to immigration has led to the rise of far-right movements across the continent, John Gray claimed.
Mr Gray, who was Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics until 2008, added that Remainers insistent on overturning Brexit risked returning the UK to a “dark European past”.
He told BBC Radio 4: “Doctrinaire Remainers respond to the advance of the far right by demanding ‘more Europe’.
They dismiss the suggestion – I would say the fact – that it is this very project that has fuelled the advance of anti-liberal forces across the continent.
“By attempting to remove immigration from the jurisdiction of national governments, the EU has left large numbers of people with the sense that they have no control over their lives.
“The result of pushing for a type of transnational government that most Europeans do not want has been the rise of the worst kinds of nationalism.
“If you call anyone who demands democratic control of immigration a racist, don’t be surprised when many of them go on to elect real racists.”
Right wing anti-immigration parties appear to be on the rise across the EU.
In Italy, the eurosceptic anti-immigration party Lega formed a ruling coalition with the Five Star Movement in June after a surge in support during the country’s 2018 General Election.
One in three French voters chose Marine Le Pen in the final round of the French presidential elections in 2017, and the hardline Alternative for Deutschland claimed 94 seats in the German parliament the same year.
Mr Gray warned that overturning Brexit and returning to the bloc would see a similar rise for the far right in the UK.
The EU’s policy on migration dominated the Brussels summit in June, with talks lasting almost 10 hours before EU leaders could come to an agreement.
Following the talks, European Council President Donald Tusk hailed the summit victory and confirmed on Twitter that leaders had reached a final agreement on the deal for a joint migration policy.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “EU28 leaders have agreed on European Council conclusions, including migration.”
Although the details remain unclear, EU Leaders agreed member states should help migrants rescued in the Mediterranean in order to lighten the burden on Italy and Greece.
They have also called for migrant processing centres in north African countries.
EU leaders agreed to “swiftly explore the concept of regional platforms in close cooperation” with countries outside of the bloc and the UN refugee agency.