The dispute over Europe's refugee policy

The EU's foreign ministers are planning a naval mission in the Mediterranean, while the European Commission has proposed a quota system for distributing refugees which has met with opposition from a number of member states. Europe must use force if necessary to stop the mass immigration of economic refugees, some commentators urge. Others describe this policy of shutting Europe's doors to refugees as inhumane.

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The Irish Independent (IE) /

Stop mass immigration with force if need be

Most of those who want to cross the Mediterranean to Europe are not fleeing persecution but are economic refugees trying to escape poverty, the conservative daily Irish Independent argues, concluding that for that reason the EU should close its borders: "The great myth of this unfolding crisis is that these are refugees fleeing Syria through ports in Libya and we in the West somehow owe them something. They're not, and we don't. In fact, it is estimated that 90-95pc of those risking the journey are from sub-Saharan countries like Senegal, Mali and the Ivory Coast. In other words, this is simply a case of mass illegal immigration and is something which must be stopped, by force if necessary, for the sake of both Europe and the migrants themselves."

Der Bund (CH) /

Sealing off Europe is inhumane

The demand for Europe to shut its doors to refugees is inhumane and also naïve, the left-liberal daily Der Bund points out: "First of all in view of European 20th century history the calls for a Napoleonic naval blockade testify to an extraordinary malice directed even against Syrian civil war refugees and the victims of the dictatorship in Eritrea. … Taking in the hundreds of thousands, even millions of people who want to come to us is indeed an impossible task. But to suggest that the refugee problem in the Mediterranean can be solved with populist slogans like 'lock the door!' - and without sacrificing humanitarian or liberal values - is brazen cheek. Instead we should get used to the idea of taking in more refugees in future. And we should acknowledge that there are no simple solutions to the crisis, but only attempts according to the trial and error principle to make things better - for the migrants and for the countries taking them in."

Heti Válasz (HU) /

Orbán's populism won't solve refugee problem

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán called on Monday for the refugee camp in Debrecen in the east of the country to be closed, stressing that if it were up to his government no more refugees would be allowed into the country. Such statements are completely uncalled for, the conservative weekly paper Heti Válasz criticises: "The refugees will continue to come, because it's not in our power to change the circumstances that have sparked this mass migration. ... Quite apart from the fact that the Hungarian government wants to close a reception camp - originally a demand of the far right Jobbik party - the refugees will continue to stream across our country's southern border. And they will continue to be rounded up and given shelter by the police, if not in Debrecen then somewhere else. Closing the camp certainly won't solve the problem."

Diena (LV) /

Latvia needs more immigration, not less

Whereas Latvia's politicians have spoken out against the quota system for refugees, the country is in fact suffering from the effects of emigration and shortage of labour, the liberal daily Diena comments: "In recent years fewer and fewer people have come to Latvia in search of a better life. On the contrary, our problem is that the number of Latvian emigrants is growing and most of them are in no hurry to return home. ... If productivity were to rise the local workforce would be insufficient. ... Latvian politicians should ensure that after twenty-five years our country has enough inhabitants to maintain the standard of living we've now achieved. For that reason we should adopt a different tone in Latvia when talking about foreign immigrants."