In its latest communication, a response to the Hungarian Government’s public information campaign, the European Commission admitted to financing a program that distributed anonymous, prepaid, debit cards to immigrants. That’s EU taxpayer money.
The Commission claims, however, that “EU aid does not encourage migration” and says that cards have been issued only to refugees and asylum-seekers already on the territory of Greece. But this blurs the lines between refugees and economic migrants. Economic migrants may also submit asylum applications, but submission of an application does not in itself mean that the applicant is a refugee. If an immigrant’s entry into Europe is for economic reasons rather than to escape real persecution, such a bank card may indeed pose an incentive. Some may argue it’s small, but it’s another example of measures that create a pull factor instead of discouraging and stopping illegal immigration.
The EC also says that “there are no anonymous debit cards”. However, they themselves admit that the single form of identification regarding the bank cards is a number.
Did you get that? While EU nationals are required to abide by strict regulations to hold bank cards, Brussels doesn’t expect the same from migrants whose identities are often impossible to establish. In fact, the program would seem contrary to EU regulations of all sorts, on issues like the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.
So far, nearly 64 thousand people have received financial support through the anonymous, migrant, debit cards. A whopping 57 million EUR was allocated to this program in 2017 alone, and almost 17 thousand cards were issued between April and September that year.
This not only creates another pull factor, it also raises serious security concerns. The citizens of Europe have a right to know.