Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, has said that for the EU to offer visa-free access to the EU zone to millions of Turks would be like “storing gasoline next to the fire.”
Discussing migration issues on the BBC’s World on the Move day, Dearlove did not mince words expressing his concerns.
He said that “shutting the door on migration is not an option” and that the number of immigrants coming to Europe over the next five years could run into millions.
“For the EU, however, to offer visa-free access to 75 million Turks to stem the flow of migrants across the Aegean seems perverse, like storing gasoline next to the fire one is trying to extinguish,” he said.
The Financial Times reports that Dearlove the 1.6 million migrants arriving in Europe last year, once established within the EU, will have complete freedom of movement among the twenty-eight EU member countries.
The mass migration to the continent has far-reaching social and political consequences, he said. “The geopolitical impact is set to reshape Europe’s political landscape as those citizens who feel, rationally or not, that their interests and cultural identity are threatened assert their influence,” said Dearlove. “This has already happened in Austria with the resurgence of the defunct Freedom Party. Other extreme right populist parties in other European countries will follow.”
He said the rise of extremist populist rightwing movements suggests voters are disillusioned at the failure to control the number of immigrants. He added that Europe’s current migration crisis is “more serious” than that of postwar 1945 because it is “global in nature.”
Dearlove said that the impact of mass migration is “eating away at the willingness of EU states to act together.” He added that this is making theEU “impotent in the face of the most serious social and humanitarian problem” it has had to face.
He added: “Europe’s leading politicians, each caught up with their own problems, show little common determination to break out of this cycle of deterioration.”
He also said that the failure by the “present configuration of twenty-eight vastly differing national interests” to meet the challenge of migration may well be an indication that the EU has outlived its historical role.
He added: “The steady rise of extremist populist rightwing movements in many European states suggests that many voters share this sense of disillusionment. The failure to control inward migration is the common denominator which explains their growth.
“Their rejection of the postwar European dream may not yet be of sufficient strength to break the EU apart and Europe’s conventional parties may yet be able to hold the line if improved control of migration can be achieved.
“However if a politician like Marine le Pen of the Front National can command the support of one in four, perhaps even one in three, French voters this does represent a sea change in the continent’s politics.”