(© picture-alliance/dpa)

  Exodus to Europe

  19 Debates

Thousands of migrants are still trying to move westwards across the Belarusian-Polish border in temperatures around the freezing point. Poland has reacted with massive police deployments and is considering calling on Nato for support. Minsk is setting up emergency shelters and the EU is putting pressure on airlines it suspects of bringing in migrants. Europe's press is divided over Poland's harsh defensive stance.

The situation at the EU's external borders with Belarus remains tense. Poland wants to build a wall, and Lithuania is also turning away most migrants. In these countries' media discussion of how to deal with the people who are besieging their countries' borders as a result of dictator Alexander Lukashenka's "hybrid warfare" continues.

Since Belarus began allowing migrants to cross the border into Lithuania and Poland, the situation in the border area has steadily deteriorated. In Lithuania, asylum seekers are protesting the poor living conditions, and several people were found dead in the area between Poland and Belarus a few days ago. The Lithuanian press is divided over how to deal with the migrants.

Spain has sent home most of the more than 8,000 adult refugees who crossed the border between Morocco and the enclave of Ceuta last week. Apparently, Rabat had loosened its controls on migration flows in retaliation for Spain allowing Brahim Ghali, leader of the Western Sahara liberation movement Polisario Front, to be treated in a Spanish hospital.

In the face of threats from the militia-controlled Libyan coast guard, private aid organisations like Doctors Without Borders and Sea Eye have temporarily suspended their missions aimed at rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean. Commentators argue about the extent to which NGO rescue operations influence refugee numbers.

"If the only ports where refugees are taken to are Italian, something is wrong," Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said at a meeting with his counterparts in Paris. Italy is threatening to deny foreign ships carrying rescued refugees access to its ports. Can Rome force a change in refugee policy?

55 percent of Europeans want immigration from Muslim countries to come to a halt, according to a study by the British Think Tank Chatham House. The conclusions of the study seem consistent with the recent attempts to tighten asylum law in Germany, Britain and other European states. Is Europe's criticism of Trump hypocritical?

Thousands of refugees stranded in Europe are struggling to survive freezing temperatures, in particular in Greece and Serbia. The authorities on the Greek islands have failed in their attempt to relocate refugees to hotels. The Hungarian foreign minister, meanwhile, is holding firmly to the policy of keeping the border with Serbia closed. And Europe is just sitting back and watching, commentators write bitterly.

Refugees clashed last week with police at Bulgaria's largest refugee camp in Harmanli, a town on the border with Turkey. Around 1,000 young men rebelled against restrictions on leaving the camp, throwing stones and erecting burning barricades. Bulgarian observers blame the EU for putting the country in an absurd situation.

Police began clearing the refugee camp in Calais known as the "Jungle" on Monday. Its more than 6,000 inhabitants are being transferred to reception centres across France. While some commentators concern themselves with the fate of the refugees, others call on the EU to finally implement an effective policy on migration.

Adult refugees who are apparently pretending to be minors in order to be allowed to travel to the UK before the camp in Calais is cleared are stirring up debate. London has held out the prospect of taking in up to 300 child refugees from Calais. Must the authorities introduce stringent controls to ensure that only real children get due protection? Or is the real crime the refusal to help adults in need?

In the late summer of 2015 German Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to allow refugees stuck at Budapest's Keleti train station to travel on to Germany. This move was followed by a sharp rise in refugee numbers. Merkel underpinned her policy with the phrase "We can do it". Europe's press is still deeply divided about the repercussions.

Ankara wants to give Syrian refugees Turkish citizenship. President Erdoğan initiated the process at the beginning of the month. The opposition is accusing him of trying to win the votes of grateful new citizens in this way. All just a political strategy?

Wars and persecution are driving more people from their homes than at any time since records began. According to a report published by the UN Refugee Agency on Monday, 65.3 million people were forced to leave their home country last year. One year earlier the figure was 59.5 million. Commentators take the international community to task.

According to reports by the UN Refugee Agency and Save the Children, more than 700 refugees died last week after three boats carrying refugees capsized off the coast of Sicily. The Italian coast guard reported that more than 13,000 people were rescued within six days. When will the politicians finally react to this situation?

An online video shows how an angry mob of roughly 100 demonstrators surrounded a bus filled with refugees arriving in the German town of Clausnitz and shouted abuse at them. The refugees were so afraid that they didn't dare leave the bus. Another video shows a police officer forcefully dragging a minor out of the bus. For the German press this is proof of how brutal society has already become.

Having fled the conflict area around Aleppo, tens of thousands of people are still stranded on the border between Syria and Turkey. Turkey is providing them with food and tents but is not letting them enter its territory. Who is responsible for the dreadful situation on the border?

After Hungary closed off its southern border, thousands of refugees are now trying to move northwards through Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. But these countries are also closing their borders, leaving many refugees stranded on the Balkan route. Some commentators fear the backlog will result in violence. Others criticise that Germany's rhetoric of hospitality is not helping to solve the crisis.