Main focus

1-5 by 21 | Page 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . next  »

MAIN FOCUS | 03/09/2015

Refugees drown on their way to Kos

The image of a drowned little boy who was washed up on a beach on Turkey's Bodrum Peninsula was spread on the social media on Wednesday. The boy and at least ten other people drowned while trying to reach the Greek island of Kos by boat. The photo is a brutal testimony to the failure of the EU in the refugee crisis, some journalists write. Others hold Turkey partially responsible for the child's death.

With articles from the following publications:
Diário de Notícias - Portugal, T24 - Turkey, La Stampa - Italy, El País - Spain

Diário de Notícias - Portugal

Deeply shocked at the scenes from a beach near the Turkish resort of Bodrum, the liberal conservative daily Diário de Notícias voices its anger: "The lifeless body of the little boy lies in the sand until it is lifted and carried away by a police officer. At this stage we can simply no longer tolerate the brutality, repulsiveness and indifference: our individual and collective shame, the politicians who call for calm amidst such tragedy, making themselves accomplices in doing so. We won't forget this accursed beach so quickly, which could just as easily have been in Greece, Italy or Portugal. … It is happening here on our doorstep. Children, women and men are dying every day in the Mediterranean - and that can only increase the anger at Europe's senseless policies. This crisis has been going on for over a year and nothing, or very little, has been done either on this or the other side of the border." (03/09/2015)

T24 - Turkey

The photo of the dead three-year-old Aylan should be a wake-up call for Turkey, the liberal online paper T24 urges: "All these refugees wanted was a better life for their children. But that's not what they got in Turkey. They were rented flats at twice the normal price, they were forced to send their children to work so they could get enough to eat, and their women were obliged to work as prostitutes. The Syrians have been living in this country for four years without any legal security, their work and their bodies are abused, they're subjected to racism, discrimination and harassment. And because Turkey benefits from this situation in every way, no one says a word. ... We lost Aylan, but we can at least prevent more Syrian children from drowning in the Mediterranean. By showing solidarity and resisting the oppression that they are subjected to. And by giving them a permanent status that will allow them to live in our country like human beings." (03/09/2015)

La Stampa - Italy

The image of the dead boy whose body was washed up on a beach on Turkey's Bodrum Peninsula has gone viral on the social media. Mario Calabresi, editor-in-chief of the liberal daily La Stampa, defends his decision to publish it on the front page: "Not showing you this picture would have meant turning a blind eye and pretending nothing had happened. Not publishing it would only have meant pulling the wool over our own eyes and prolonging our ignorance by another day. That's why I changed my mind. Respect for this child, who together with his parents, brothers and sisters fled a war that is being waged on our very doorstep, demands that we should all realise what is going on. It demands that each and every one of us should stop for a moment and take stock of what is happening on the beaches where we spent our holidays. After that you can go on with your lives, perhaps outraged at my decision, but no longer ignorant of the situation." (03/09/2015)

El País - Spain

A special EU summit is necessary, the centre-left daily El País demands with an eye to the images of the dead refugee child on the Turkish coast: "First of all the politicians must recognise the dimensions of this issue and say out loud that the wave of refugees demands new and ambitious solutions. Treatment is not possible without the right diagnosis. It is indispensable to hold a summit at which Europe's leaders - and not just the interior ministers and justice ministers convened for September 14 - assess the situation and take medium and long-term action including economic and geostrategic measures to address the causes of the problem. Europe can find its way and regain some of the legitimacy and global leadership it has lost if it tackles this challenge. This is the only possible solution." (03/09/2015)

MAIN FOCUS | 02/09/2015

Refugee chaos in Budapest

Thousands of refugees are stranded outside Budapest's Keleti train station, waiting to be allowed to continue their journey westwards. The Hungarian police allowed people to travel by train to Austria and Germany on Monday, then closed the station on Tuesday. Europe is witnessing apocalyptic conditions, some commentators worry. Others are heartened by local demonstrations of support for the refugees.

With articles from the following publications:
Népszabadság - Hungary, Kurier - Austria, Corriere della Sera - Italy

Népszabadság - Hungary

Watching the scenes taking place at Keleti train station in Budapest and on Hungary's border with Austria, the left-liberal daily Népszabadság feels reminded of the worst doomsday scenarios: "It can't help but bring to mind a mediocre disaster film when a twenty- to thirty-kilometre-long traffic jam forms on the motorway to Austria [because of the border contols]. Or just think of the powerful image of helpless police officers facing desperate refugees [at Budapest railway station]. Or of how many refugees feel forced to say they are Syrians so as to be taken in in Germany. Or of how volunteers are organising food for the hungry. Or of how the EU decision-makers are moaning about quotas of a few hundred people while tens of thousands continue to flood towards Europe." (01/09/2015)

Kurier - Austria

Many refugees enter Austria on their way from Hungary to Germany or beyond. Austria's reaction to the newcomers is exemplary, writes the liberal daily Kurier: "At Vienna's Westbahnhof train station residents of the city spontaneously emptied supermarket shelves to provide newly arrived refugees with the basics. A supermarket distributed a whole lorry full of goods to the refugees for free. [Railway company] ÖBB and the police are pragmatically dispensing with a lot of the red tape. A Facebook appeal got 20,000 people on to the streets to protest for more compassion. Private cars loaded with relief aid pull up every day outside [the refugee centre] in Traiskirchen. In many places relief campaigns are springing up: help rather than incite hatred; improvise rather than complain; treat refugees as equals rather than look down on them. … A great wave of support is spreading through Austria. This small country is on its best behaviour." (02/09/2015)

Corriere della Sera - Italy

Refugees demonstrated outside Budapest's Keleti train station to be allowed to board trains and head for destinations outside the country after police closed down the station on Tuesday. They chanted the words "Merkel" and "Germany" while doing so. This testifies to the leading role Germany has assumed in the refugee crisis, the liberal conservative daily Corriere della Sera writes: "It will probably be impossible to reach a consensus on an open refugee policy in the EU. Hungary is going its own way and many other Eastern European countries don't see themselves in a position to take in large numbers of refugees. … Yet Berlin has now taken the initiative, perhaps a little late, and the chancellor seems more determined than ever not to give in on asylum law. … The rest of Europe should take note of this. Never before has Germany so explicitly been given the leading role it must inevitably assume despite its own reluctance to do so." (02/09/2015)

MAIN FOCUS | 01/09/2015

Merkel puts refugees at top of agenda

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Monday in Berlin that Germany would increase its efforts in dealing with the refugee crisis. She also called for more cooperation within the EU. At last Merkel is assuming the lead in Europe, some commentators write jubilantly. Others see her stance on refugees as naive.

With articles from the following publications:
Corriere del Ticino - Switzerland, Die Welt - Germany, Le Figaro - France

Corriere del Ticino - Switzerland

Europe can count itself lucky that someone is taking the lead in the refugee crisis, the liberal daily Corriere del Ticino concludes: "In wars and emergencies we see who really has the ability to lead. A scarce commodity in Europe - but with one exception: Angela Merkel. Her statement on the refugee issue is destined to permanently alter the balance of power on the continent. … People don't like the term 'German dominance'. It is taboo in Europe. Germany's Finance Minister Schäuble rejects it. Perhaps because it is synonymous with more responsibility and therefore more costs. But in the most recent speeches by German President Gauck and Foreign Minister Steinmeier a change of attitude is evident that accepts the country's role as a global player. If Germany wants more responsibility and a leading role not just in the economy but also on strategic issues, this shouldn't worry its European partners. Let the ghosts of the past rest in peace." (01/09/2015)

Die Welt - Germany

Merkel is late in taking up refugee policy but her speech on the issue was remarkable, comments the conservative daily Die Welt, at the same time calling for swift improvements: "So now Merkel wants to tackle the problem. With a legislative package that removes the most absurd hurdles preventing faster assistance and with more money. On this point the chancellor will have to quickly get more concrete if she doesn't want the impact of her speech to evaporate. In Europe too, the most powerful politician on the continent must now use her power to achieve a fairer distribution of the refugees, certainly, but also to put an end to the subsidies and protectionist customs that rob African countries of the chance to develop. With almost American-style pragmatism and optimism, Merkel has delivered the promise of a new refugee policy. And indeed the chances of a national effort being successful are not bad at all. With a well-attuned grand coalition that is finally finding its raison d'être. … As well as a booming economy and one of the best administrations in the world." (01/09/2015)

Le Figaro - France

Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement that Germany has the capacity to take in another several hundred thousand refugees is naive, the conservative daily Le Figaro writes: "While it may be true that Germany has the capacity to hire hundreds of thousands of adult migrants in industry or the service sector, such capacities most certainly do not exist in Italy or Spain or France, all of which are unable to provide their own young generations with enough work. ... Merkel seems to see people from a purely economic perspective. In reality, however, they are first and foremost cultural beings. Why were there riots in the suburbs of Sweden, a country where unemployment is practically non-existent? It seems that Europe has still not managed to fully integrate the Muslims who came with the wave of economic immigration in the 1960s. Strangely, that's something Angela Merkel refuses to acknowledge." (01/09/2015)

MAIN FOCUS | 31/08/2015

Hungary seals off its border with Serbia

Hungary's border fence - intended to keep out refugees arriving from Serbia - was completed on Sunday according to government sources. The fence is nothing but a domestic policy manoeuvre by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, some commentators write. Others believe that Hungary is above all harming its own interests with its policy of seclusion.

With articles from the following publications:
Der Standard - Austria, Szuverén - Hungary, Le Monde - France

Der Standard - Austria

Hungary's head of government Viktor Orbán is using the refugee crisis to introduce a new legislative package, erect a border fence and justify even more right-wing authoritarian policies, writes the centre-left daily Der Standard: "For Orbán, the wave of refugees passing through his country is not a social, police or European problem but an all-out war. 'Mass immigrants attack Hungary' - that is the tenor of the official propaganda. This state of war calls for a state of emergency. But Orbán will not only use the 'mass immigration emergency ' - as it is described in the legislative package - to torment the defenceless migrants even more but above all to further curtail his own citizens' democratic rights. The EU, with its subdued reaction to Orbán's undermining of democracy so far, is also responsible for Orbán's spine-chilling behaviour. The lack of a refugee and migration policy is giving the Hungarian autocrat free rein to do as he chooses." (31/08/2015)

Szuverén - Hungary

Neurotic and self-absorbed Hungary has isolated itself even more from the rest of the world by building a border fence to fend off refugees, writes blogger Domonkos Sik on blog portal Szuverén: "Such an act of all-round defence is counter-productive in a globalised world. By sealing itself off Hungary has distorted its own identity, fuelled by historical injustices, a victim mentality, exploitation and insatiable demands. Then there is ignorance and a lack of understanding of the world beyond its own borders. Such a collective identity not only manifests itself in a social neurosis but also reduces the individual's political and economic room for manoeuvre: the politicians lose their ability to give the country goals that go beyond material reproduction. The economy, meanwhile, loses its potential for innovation." (28/08/2015)

Le Monde - France

The tendency of Eastern European states like Hungary to want to seal themselves off rather than take in refugees derives from the history of the region, the centre-left daily Le Monde believes: "The violence of the immigrant crisis has revealed several hidden truths to the countries of Eastern Europe. From Nazism and then from Stalinism they inherited either an ethnic and religious homogeneity that is fundamentally different from Western European multiculturalism or a conflictual attitude to the minorities that were thrust upon them. ... And they still haven't been able to come to terms with this legacy. Although joining the EU gave them access to hundreds of billions of euros from the Cohesion Fund, they have yet to grasp that solidarity is never a one-way street. The time has come for them to show that they share Europe's values. Will this rude awakening be salutary? That is the real test Europe faces." (30/08/2015)

MAIN FOCUS | 28/08/2015

Dozens of refugees suffocate in lorry

The Austrian police on Thursday discovered the bodies of more than 70 refugees in a truck abandoned on the hard shoulder of a motorway. Minister of the Interior Johanna Mikl-Leitner has said asylum seekers with a chance of being allowed to stay should be permitted to enter the EU legally. Such a move would deprive traffickers of their means of sustenance, commentators write in approval, and urge people to try and see things from the refugees' perspective.

With articles from the following publications:
Aargauer Zeitung - Switzerland, Kurier - Austria, Novi List - Croatia, Sme - Slovakia

Aargauer Zeitung - Switzerland

Following the refugee tragedy in Austria the liberal Aargauer Zeitung calls for the EU to take steps to destroy the smugglers' business model: "Anyone who wants to be credible in their outrage at these lowlifes should at least stop driving refugees straight into their arms. Smugglers are only successful where there's no legal route. … Only people who fear being attacked and sent back otherwise will get in the back of a lorry with a big burly driver. If the police were to destroy the criminal bazaars on the borders or at the main train stations, they could be sure of the victims' approval. Setting up help centres to provide emergency supplies and information at critical border crossings and in those places where refugees gather would already be a big help. As things stand now, that's a punishable offence; aiding illegal border crossing. This is unnecessary and absurd." (27/08/2015)

Kurier - Austria

After the discovery of a lorry containing dozens of dead refugees the liberal daily Kurier asks readers to put themselves in the position of those who died: "What was it like? The fear, the hope, the despair. The relief at having escaped war and agony, tempered by the premonition of other impending dangers. Having to rely on people who don't waste another thought on you as soon as you've given them the last of your money. How did that feel? The darkness, the degradingly cramped quarters, the stench. The humiliation of having to relieve yourself no more than inches from your neighbour. The hunger, the thirst, the heat. What was it like? When the level of oxygen dwindled, when no one heard the cries of desperation, when the first people died? The frenzied fear, the last thoughts of home and family, the last gasp for breath? And now imagine it was your own son or daughter in that lorry." (28/08/2015)

Novi List - Croatia

Disappointment at the EU's lack of solidarity with the refugees is the centre-left daily Novi List's reaction to the situation: "The main problem is that the EU is not a social union or a union of solidarity, as the Greek crisis has amply demonstrated, but a capital union. The Slovenian analyst Anton Bebler wrote in the newspaper Delo that according to the Treaty of Lisbon solidarity is not one of the EU's fundamental values - whereas freedom, democracy, the rule of law and protecting human rights and the rights of minorities are. Solidarity is left to each member state to decide on. If a state's domestic policy displays solidarity, that doesn't necessarily mean it must display solidarity in its foreign policy. But the people knocking on Europe's doors today need European solidarity. Most of them are refugees fleeing war and death, while only a minority are migrants seeking a better life." (28/08/2015)

Sme - Slovakia

Until now Slovakia has not been a destination for the tens of thousands of refugees coming to Europe via the Western Balkans. But the lorry of death discovered on Thursday on a motorway south of Vienna once belonged to a Slovakian company, and that alone should prompt Slovakians to reflect on their attitude towards the refugees, the liberal daily Sme admonishes: "This horrible tragedy not far from our borders reminds us that the refugees are also our problem. The Slovakian logo on the lorry in which dozens of people suffocated isn't the only thing that binds us to the refugees. ... Such alarming dramas are taking place all around us on a daily basis. Nonetheless many Slovakians go on turning a blind eye and saying the tragedy has nothing to do with them. But such an assertion is wrong - and a tragedy in itself." (28/08/2015)

1-5 by 21 | Page 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . next  »

Other content