The European Union will set up rapid-reaction teams to deal with an increasing flood of illegal African immigrants on Europe’s southern flank.  The decision was made by the European Commission at a July 19 meeting spurred on by complaints from Spain, Italy, and Malta.  Illegal immigration to Spain via the Canary Islands has increased sharply this year: According to media accounts, 11,000 African illegals made their way to the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa in the first half of 2006, more than doubling last year’s number.  The European Union also proposes to strengthen Europe’s external borders, coordinate repatriation policies with member states, and impose stiffer fines on employers hiring illegal immigrants.

While Spain and Italy have both been under pressure from increasing illegal immigration, tiny Malta brought the issue to a head by refusing to admit 51 Africans picked up by a Spanish fishing trawler in the Mediterranean.  The Maltese government argued that the trawler was closer to the coast of Libya than Malta when the Africans were picked up.  Spain asked Brussels to intervene.  (The standoff was settled when several E.U. countries agreed to divide up the illegal immigrants among them—and Malta did receive a share.)  In the meantime, the European Union has pledged to set up patrols in the Mediterranean off Malta’s coast.

Malta received 18 boatloads of Africans in June alone, and Maltese officials have complained that the island country had been abandoned by the European Union.  With 400,000 inhabitants, Malta is the second-most densely populated country in the world (after Bangladesh), and her people have not been shy about voicing their dismay over being flooded with illegal African immigrants.  “We don’t want a multicultural society,” said Martin Degiorgio, a leader of a Maltese anti-immigration group.  “Haven’t you seen the problems it has brought to France and Britain?”

While pledging to strengthen borders and take other measures to increase immigration controls, E.U. officials have also trotted out another program that may sound familiar to Americans: At a recent conference held in Morocco of 57 African and European states, the Europeans pledged to fund programs aimed at improving economic conditions in Africa—in the hope that the Africans will stay home.  But remaking a dysfunctional collection of corrupt states torn apart by tribal and religious conflict into Equatorial Europe seems more than a little unlikely.  At best, the program will probably amount to an attempt to bribe leaders of gangster states to force their populations to stay put—and just how often have most of the leaders of said states ever performed any official function approaching a level one might call “competent”?  At worst, such programs will provide more cover for a globalist, open-borders elite that seems hell-bent on destroying what remains of Western civilization.

Even assuming that a massive aid program could somehow do for the Africans what they have not been able to do for themselves, just how long would it be before living standards reached a high enough level to remove incentives for emigration?  Apart from that, here are a few points to ponder: There are 900 million people living in Africa, with more than 200 million of them located in North Africa, just a short boat ride away from Europe.  Fifty percent of Africa’s population is under 17 years of age, with limited education and few skills.  By 2050, there could be as many as two billion Africans.  What does any reasonable person think those people will do?  As it stands, millions of them are apparently ready to risk life and limb to break into Europe uninvited.

If Europe will not defend itself, then the happy talk about foreign aid (a sample from French President Jacques Chirac: “Let us offer Africa’s youth a future of dignity.  Then it will not risk resorting to violence and extremism, or choosing, en masse, the path of exile”) is all Europeans have to bank on—and the measures the European Union is considering are small-scale.  The rapid-response teams that are supposed to defend Europe’s southern flank will be made up of a ridiculously small 250 to 300 people!

British Rear Adm. Chris Parry, a senior Ministry of Defence strategist, has warned that Europe faces a challenge on par with the barbarian invasions of the Roman Empire.  As borders collapse, the European states will lose control over their own territories.  The mass population migration now under way could make swelling metropolitan areas ungovernable.

That scenario is likely, given that the European Union could not even bring itself to repatriate the 51 Africans Malta refused to accept.  Jean Raspail’s Camp of the Saints is being played out before our eyes.