Juncker criticises Fortress Europe

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has severely criticised the reaction of the EU heads of state and government to the refugee tragedies in the Mediterranean. Addressing the EU Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday, he called for refugees to be given legal access to Europe and the introduction of country quotas. The press praises Juncker's initiative and encourages the public to put pressure on politicians in the migration crisis.

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Der Standard (AT) /

At last frank words in the migration crisis

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has criticised the EU leaders for not doing enough to solve the refugee crisis. The left-liberal daily Der Standard praises Juncker's clear words: "In practical terms, all the tripling of the funding for the border security programme Triton will accomplish is a return to Italy's national Mare Nostrum programme. It saved thousands of lives, but was stopped at Germany's insistence. Juncker's call for a quota system for asylum seekers is also right. The Union must follow this path if it wants to avoid destroying its own reputation as a humane society. The heads of state and government plan to distribute 5,000 refugees 'fairly' in an EU-wide pilot project. That cannot be the answer. The EU has a population of 507 million. That would mean one refugee per 100,000 inhabitants. Austria would have to take in 80 'EU refugees', and Vienna - with a population of 1.8 million - 18: just enough people to fill a small bus. Have we got a screw loose somewhere?"

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Juncker shows the will to reform

In his capacity as chief of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker is finally standing up to national leaders with his initiative, the public service broadcaster Deutschlandfunk notes approvingly: "He has reminded the heads of government and state of their obligations; he has publicly criticised the meagre results of the special summit and the shocked rhetoric. And he has announced a new initiative aimed at establishing a quota system. Naturally, in the end it's the member states who must bear the consequences of migration policy - both social and economic. But it's precisely these member states that have so far blocked all ideas for reform. Now the pressure is growing - not just because of the tragedies off Europe's coast, but also because the European Commission and Parliament are clearly demonstrating the will to reform that is so sorely lacking among the heads of state and government at present."

La Stampa (IT) /

Commitment an alien concept in Europe

There are no signs of society mobilising in reaction to the refugee tragedies on the Mediterranean, the liberal daily La Stampa laments: "Where are Jean-Paul Sartre and Raymond Aron today? … On a yellowing photo from 1979 we see the most radical and unpredictable representative of the left-wing intelligentsia hand in hand with the most liberal representative of the republican French right in front of the Elysée Palace. The universal and humanistic belief in 'commitment', in undertaking an obligation, brought Aron and Sartre together in the face of the tragedy of the Vietnamese and Cambodian boat people. This commitment on the part of the most unlikely of all couples - Sartre and Aron - mobilised an initially hesitant [French president] Giscard d'Estaing and then all France. … Where are today's Sartres and Arons? None of today's politicians are capable of campaigning for a policy that foresees even the most minimal opening to foreigners, no matter how noble its humanist cause."