Junk is the nickname by which Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, is known to his friends, of whom I’m proud to be one. Junk has many fine qualities, prominent among which is his enviable ability to drink any Russian under the table.
Possibly because he shows off this talent too often, he sometimes speaks out of turn, saying things at a wrong time and producing a sound effect akin to that of two pieces of glass being scraped together.
For example, even if I were a huge fan of the Schengen Agreement (passport-free travel throughout 26 European countries), I wouldn’t choose this particular moment for singing its praises.
The Agreement is largely, though far from solely, responsible for the horrendous migrant crisis Europe is facing.
Swarms of Middle Easterners, some suffering from persecution, some only claiming to be, and some all too ready to persecute others, land somewhere on Europe’s Mediterranean coast.
If they claim refugee status, they’re only entitled to stay in the first safe country they reach – if it’s Italy, they’re in luck. If it’s Greece, less so. If it’s Bosnia, my heart bleeds for them.
However, whatever it is, there are always greener pastures elsewhere, specifically in England’s green and pleasant land, which must abandon any aspiration to build Jerusalem not to upset our Muslim friends.
Seeking such pastures would be difficult in the absence of valid visas prominently stamped on their passports. However, Schengen makes such migration a doddle – not only their visas but indeed their passports aren’t going to be checked all the way to Calais or other Channel ports.
I shan’t bore you with descriptions of the resulting chaos, threatening to destroy not only the European order so dear to Junk’s heart, but indeed any order tout court. Suffice it to say that what Europe is in the midst of is nothing short of a crisis, with a catastrophe a distinct possibility.
Then again there’s the minor issue of security, arising because some of our uninvited guests have the requisite training, experience and – more important – inclination to use offensive weapons indiscriminately. This was highlighted the other day on the Amsterdam-Paris high-speed train, where only heroic action by some passengers prevented yet another Muslim perpetrating yet another mass murder.
Much as we all admire free travel, I’d suggest that our present concrete situation shouldn’t encourage abstract pro-Schengen statements. Then again, as Junk has demonstrated on numerous occasions, he drinks more than I do.
He was clearly in his cups when he wrote this paragraph in Le Figaro yesterday: “What worries me is to hear politicians from Left to Right nourishing a populism that brings only anger and not solutions. Hate speech and rash statements that threaten one of our very greatest achievements – the Schengen area and the absence of internal borders: that is not Europe.”
If Schengen is one of our very greatest achievements, I wonder what one of our very greatest fiascos would look like.
Also, I’d be tempted to analyse the unlikely unity of opinion at both ends of the political spectrum. I mean, those chaps disagree on just about everything else – so isn’t it possible that, if they’re all in agreement, it’s on merit?
Isn’t it also possible that taking an almost universal consensus into account reflects genuine concern rather than populism? And that the resulting anger is fully justified?
Still, as the founder, president and so far the only member of The Charles Martel Society for Multiculturalism, I agree with my friend Junk on one point. Anger alone doesn’t cut it – it’s positive solutions that we must seek.
So next time Junk and I go out for a few pints (of his favourite Martel Cordon Bleu), I’ll outline my proposals, with no anger or populism anywhere in sight:
1) The Schengen Agreement must be suspended until future notice, effective immediately.
2) All European countries will reclaim sovereignty over their own borders, introduce tight controls and admit or turn away anyone they choose.
3) We should select a Greek island we like least and use it as a vetting camp for refugees, generously compensating the Greek government for the inconvenience – and making acceptance of this arrangement a precondition for any further bailouts.
4) Should any immigrant be found in any country for which he has no visa, he must be summarily deported back to the camp.
5) The upkeep of the refugees must by financed by the oil-rich Middle Eastern countries that surely would welcome this opportunity to show Koran-prescribed generosity to their co-religionists.
6) The EU, so ably led by my friend Junk, must acknowledge that Britain is under no obligation to accept any foreigner who doesn’t land on her shores directly, bearing an appropriate visa, preferably not counterfeit.
I’ll have many other proposals as well, but I doubt Junk will stay lucid long enough to get his befuddled head around them. So I’ll stop here and ask myself how likely Junk will be to nod his enthusiastic support.