I’ve changed my mind on what is the best response to the EU migrant crisis. I no longer believe that it’s wrong to force unwilling EU member states to accommodate the exodus of people heading this way from all over. These new arrivals need financial support, food, clothing and, above all, housing. Without the EU-wide coordination that the EU Commission is pushing for, there is no way to provide these people with those necessities.
To this end, I offer the following suggestion:
Convert all EU-owned and operated properties, including the EU Parliament and Commission complexes in Luxembourg, Brussels and Strasbourg, into temporary migrant centres.
The EU Parliament buildings, which are barely used, are spacious, are designed for thousands of occupants, heated, have catering, a medical centre, and have their own light rail and other transportation services. Other EU institutions share the same facilities. This makes them ideal “turn-key” accommodation for thousands of migrants. How many? Well, the Brussels complex accommodates 751 MEPs, each of whom have three-roomed or similar offices, which could accommodate at least six migrants. That means that the Brussels EP complex alone could accommodate 4,506 migrants. Multiplied by three EU Parliament complexes, that provides accommodation for at least 13,518 migrants. If we assume that the 28 EU Commissioners have at least as many offices as the MEP, then that adds another 252 places for migrants.
We mustn’t forget that, for every MEP and Commissioner, there is a bureaucratic support network, which amounts to 54,000 EU employees, give or take. If the EU were to require that each EU employee — including MEPs and Commissioners — house two migrants in their homes, then that would provide 108,000 places for migrants.
We mustn’t forget, either, the vast number of rooms, conference spaces, offices, reception areas, interpreter facilities, etc in the Parliament complexes and support offices elsewhere that could be converted to migrant centres. How many migrants that could support is unknown, but I am going to conservatively estimate 3,000 per Parliament complex, based on a multiplier of about four applied to the office space given to 751 MEPs. That accommodates another 9,000 migrants.
The EU’s External Action Service facilities — there are 140 delegations worldwide — with their large bureaucracies and buildings, offers a plethora of migrant living space. Bearing in mind that some are larger than others, I’m going to estimate an average of 750 migrants spaces available per building across the 140-strong network. That adds another 105,000 spaces for migrant accommodation.
Then we have the network of EU-operated schools and colleges, and departments within these colleges. I have no idea as to the number of migrants these facilities could accommodate, but it is certainly in the thousands.
The grand total of migrants that my plan could accommodate is at least 240,276 without taking into account the migrant accommodation space provided by thousands of added colleges and hosts of EU properties that I haven’t mentioned (e.g. the EU “courts”) and others I don’t know about.
The major objection to my plan might well be that inviting the migrants in will require asking the current users of these spaces to move out. I, too, would have worried about that prior to the EU’s recent policy of removing sitting tenants, workers and even hotel guests from their properties to make way for migrants. Fortunately, though, my suggestions dovetail nicely with the EU’s new policy of population replacement and property reassignment.
Some might also raise the issue of security, regarding allowing nearly a quarter of a million strangers access to EU facilities, documents and infrastructure. But the EU’s total lack of security measures, such as background checks, prior to allowing the newcomers into member nations, indicates that the EU is comfortable that none of our new guests intend the people of the EU, or, indeed, each other, any harm.
The final benefit I’ll offer to the member states of adopting this truly shared, EU-wide burden, is that, not only will it facilitate the EU’s declared goal to allow whoever wants to move to an EU member nation to do so, it will also take the pressure off of many EU member states, since the burden will be largely centralized in Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg. And we know how much the EU loves the centralized control of national resources.