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Patrick Kingsley @PatrickKingsley
, 6 tweets, 1 min read Read on Twitter
Hillary Clinton says centrist European politicians need to get a handle on migration in order to stop populists. But that is exactly what European centrists have already been doing and saying for 3 years — with no clear political outcome.
It was centrist politicians like Merkel and Timmermanns who forged a deal with Turkey in 2016, cutting migration to Greece by 90%. It was the centrist Marco Minniti, not the far-right Matteo Salvini, who cut flows to Italy by 70% by negotiating with Libyans in 2017.
It was the centrist Federica Mogherini, along w Merkel, who led efforts in this period to stop flows thru the Sahara. Measures taken by the far-right — by Orbán & Salvini — are more memorable. But they were also cosmetic. Migrants headed thru Croatia once Hungary built its fence
Did this stop the populists? Not really. In Italy, Minniti’s government lost office within months, despite cutting migration so drastically. In Germany, the center-right is losing more votes to the centrist Greens than to the far-right AfD.
Meanwhile, the far-right government in Poland came to power in a country entirely unaffected by the migration crisis. Yet in Greece and Spain, the two countries currently most affected by unauthorized migration, the far-right polls at less than 10% and 5% respectively.
Finally: This isn’t to say that migration isn’t a key issue of our times, or that the far-right isn’t on the rise, partly as a result. But it’s inaccurate to suggest that centrists haven’t gotten tough. They have — and it’s had mixed results electorally.
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