Traffickers abandon ships carrying refugees

For the second time within a few days, the Italian coast guard rescued refugees from an unmanned cargo ship on the weekend. The roughly 360 people on board are reportedly of Syrian origin. Commentators point out that trafficking gangs are taking advantage of the EU's failed refugee policy and call for a coordinated EU rescue mission in the Mediterranean.

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Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Refugee smugglers capitalising on EU policy

The people smugglers' lucrative trade with the plight of refugees is the downside of Europe's policy of sealing itself off to immigrants, the public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk criticises: "Frontex, the border protection agency that is now shedding crocodile tears in Warsaw, can't manage to seal Europe's borders. How could it given the millions of people fleeing their countries right on our doorstep? Turning Europe into an impregnable fortress doesn't work. And the internationally networked, highly professional smuggler gangs are making the most of this. They are part of a fortress industry, part of a system that Europe prefers to ignore. ... Is asylum a human right? Should people who are fleeing wars in Syria, Iraq and Africa and want to save their lives be offered a safe place? Then there must be safe paths to Europe - without people having to risk their lives on the border. But that, it seems, is not what is wanted."

El País (ES) /

Don't leave rescue actions to single states

Europe's refugee policy must not be left to national governments, the left-liberal daily El País demands in view of the refugee drama on the cargo ship Ezadeen: "Europe as a whole must react, trapped as it is between the compromise on human rights values and growing anti-immigration sentiment that is fomented by the extremist parties and is filling more moderate politicians with fear and doubt. ... This is an issue that should not be left to the individual governments. In reality the problem affects the entire international community, but it's up to Europe to take collective decisions and bridge the gap between those who want to introduce major search and rescue operations and those who reject the idea claiming it will only attract more immigrants."

The Independent (GB) /

EU mustn't let refugees drown

The end of the Italian-backed "Mare Nostrum" rescue mission is to blame for the new refugee drama on the Mediterranean, the left-liberal daily The Independent believes: "So much for the notion that Operation Mare Nostrum was 'encouraging' migrants, an idea that now seems as wrong as it is distasteful … It is hard for us to imagine, sitting in our warm living-rooms, how desperate these 'migrants' are - or how like us. Becoming a refugee is one of the most depersonalising things that can happen to human beings; they become part of a mass, no longer individuals that we can empathise with but symbols of a problem we don't want to address. But the only thing that will stop the apparently endless flow of migrants is the ability to live safely in their own country. ... We shouldn't allow the EU to respond with a second-rate search-and-rescue system that risks leaving traumatised people to drown."

La Stampa (IT) /

IS driving Syrians to Europe

The IS terrorist militias will put more and more Syrians to flight, the liberal daily La Stampa predicts: "It is the Syrian middle classes who are fleeing. The majority of them are not poor. ... They had even hoped to survive the civil war thanks to their financial resources. But now the middles classes are fleeing the devastated cities. Fleeing the grim guardians of God's law, the Islamist dictatorship that has dedicated itself to waging a war without a goal, a war against everyone. They have no hope left. They are fleeing a cruel, totalitarian invention that renders normal life worthless, destroys it, dismembers it and grinds it into dust. Is there a more perfidious atrocity? The future Islamist Syria will be a state that destroys not life, but civilisation."