The decision Wednesday by the European Court of Justice (of the European Union) to make member nations take in asylum seekers from the Middle East is a powerful lesson as to the dangers of the United States’ continued membership in NAFTA.
Two Eastern European members of the European Union (EU), Slovakia and Hungary, had filed complaints with the Luxembourg-based court in opposition to the decision of the EU to order national governments in Europe to accept quotas of "refugees," mostly from Syria. The Court dismissed the two nations’ complaints, however, saying, “The court dismisses the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the provisional mechanism for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers.”
The program, which provided for the relocation of up to 160,000 people, was implemented by the “executive” branch of the EU, the European Commission, and accepted by a majority vote of the member states, but it has faced intense opposition throughout the EU, with the greatest opposition coming from formerly communist nations found in Eastern Europe.
The Court of Justice said the quota program was necessary to “respond effectively and swiftly” to an emergency situation of “displaced persons” fleeing the civil war in Syria.
Germany’s foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, welcomed the court’s ruling: “We can also expect that all European partners will uphold the ruling and carry out the decision without further delay.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been a huge advocate of the EU countries welcoming the flood of immigrants from Syria.
Hungary’s quota is 1,294 displaced persons, and if they do not comply, they can be fined. Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic may also suffer the same fate as Hungary if they do not follow the ruling of the Court of Justice.
Hungary appears to still be defiant. Their minister of foreign affairs and trade, Peter Szijjarto, said the ruling was “outrageous and irresponsible.” He added, “The real battle is only just beginning,” arguing that Hungary will admit only persons it wishes to accept.
Nearly 80 percent of the migrants and refugees have come to Italy, and most of the rest have settled in Cyprus, Greece, and Spain. The International Organization for Migration has said that 125,860 total migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe just this year, with more than 2,500 dying in the effort to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
All of this vividly illustrates the dangers of multilateral “free trade” agreements. The EU was originally formed as a “free market” deal simply to facilitate the exchange of coal and steel. As time has passed, however, the deal has evolved into the so-called Common Market, the European Economic Community, and finally the European Union. Increasingly, the EU has bullied member nations into accepting dictates by bureaucrats out of Brussels, Belgium, even in purely domestic non-trade policies. The overbearing attitude of the EU finally precipitated the decision of the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European super-state in what was known as “Brexit.”
This powerful lesson should inform Americans that they need to leave NAFTA, rather than simply to negotiate a “better deal.” Agreements such as NAFTA tend to grow into bureaucratic regimes that reduce the national sovereignty of member nations, and. likewise, reduce and the ability of the people to rule themselves.
NAFTA and other similar trade deals might be called “free trade,” but they are more accurately described as “managed trade” deals. Under NAFTA, trade among the three major nations of North America is not free, but actually heavily regulated by the terms of the agreement. Trade among the three nations is not left up to private business, but is governed by the terms of the multilateral trade deal.
Multilateral trade deals require a super-national body of regulators to enforce the terms of the agreement and, of necessity, restrict the national sovereignty of the member nations.
NAFTA does not just regulate “trade” among Canada, the United States, and Mexico, but dictates economic activity within those three countries. The purpose of granting Congress (in the U.S. Constitution) the power to regulate trade with foreign countries was clearly not to allow a bureaucratic super-state to dictate the domestic economy, but rather to leave to Congress, rather than each individual state, the power to set tariff rates on imported goods.
President Trump should take note of what just happened in the EU. He should not even attempt to renegotiate NAFTA, but instead should put a knife in the heart of a deal that is unconstitutional and harmful to the average American. Americans enjoyed trade with Canada and Mexico prior to NAFTA’s creation in 1994, and without NAFTA, they can have real "free trade" again.