EU states still at odds over refugee quota
The EU interior ministers again failed to reach an agreement on the distribution of refugees on Tuesday. And a new conflict is brewing over whether hundreds of refugees should be allowed to cross the border from Italy into France. Without solidarity there can be no solution to the refugee crisis, commentators write, and call on the EU states to set aside their nationalist eyeglasses.
No refugee policy without solidarity
Only if the EU states show solidarity with each other can the refugee crisis be resolved, argues the centre-left daily De Volkskrant: "Italy's neighbours, and France in particular, are closing their borders once more to fend off unwelcome guests. Degrading scenes like those in Ventimiglia or Calais are the result. And this is happening in the richest union of states in the world. It is unacceptable. … The EU is a ship carrying Europeans who share a common destiny, according to its founders. But the stronger the storms that race towards the EU, the greater the tendency of certain sailors becomes to launch their own lifeboat and seek to escape. Because who knows: perhaps the others will be swallowed up by the waves before we are. This view is short-sighted and won't solve the problems. Europe must act as one or Europe won't be anything any more."
Time to overcome national egoism
The EU member states must finally overcome their national egoism, the liberal daily Le Soir urges in view of the debate about refugee quotas: "One characteristic unites this coalition of malcontents: petty national egoism. And the fear of explaining to the public that accepting a few extra refugees in a crisis situation counts among the most basic acts of solidarity for the worst hit countries. Everyone knows that questions of migration and integration are among the most difficult to bring in line with public opinion. But the states do themselves the worst service when they obstinately insist on seeing these problems through their own national glasses. It's precisely because this challenge is too much for individual member states that joint action is necessary."
Europe selling weapons and its soul
Only weapons and not people are being allowed to cross borders now, writes the centre-left daily La Repubblica, incensed: "Europe is fomenting crises and conflicts in the refugees' countries of origin by selling weapons to their governments. … Governments that it classifies as legitimate despite knowing better simply because this suits its own interests. Europe soothes its conscience with the following mantra: if we didn't supply the weapons then other states would. … It is selling its soul because of a few ten thousands of refugees who are asking Europe for help. A federal, stable union that was prepared to take joint political decisions could fulfil with dignity the obligations that its founding principles entail. In moments like these, with more Europe we could save the values that form the basis of our identity."
Eurosceptics put pressure on London
The fact that the British Home Secretary Theresa May also rejects the refugee quotas shows once again the extent to which the British government allows itself to be intimidated by Eurosceptics, the centre-left daily The Guardian comments: "Mrs May always has more than one eye on politics back home. That is because any EU success in getting the UK to accept a quota would become a sovereignty issue that would infuriate anti-Europeans in parliament and the press, and threaten the government's EU renegotiation strategy. ... Its root cause is the modern Tory party's refusal to see any point in the EU beyond the single market, which also manifests itself in the indifference towards a Greek crisis which in reality is a far more pressing issue than the UK's endless grievances."