EU agrees to distribute 55,000 refugees
The EU states have agreed to take in 55.000 refugees who are currently located in Italy and Greece. The EU Commission originally proposed obligatory quotas for the resettlement of 60,000 people. The European press is debating how best to integrate the refugees in the various countries.
Integration starts at neighbourhood level
Several people in Italy were injured in violent protests on the weekend against plans to take in refugees. Giovanna Zincone, president of the Forum of International and European Research on Migration, explains in the liberal daily La Stampa how the US community building model can aid the successful integration of the refugees: "The importance of local realities is becoming increasingly obvious. They are the touchstone for political strategies. What counts are the micro-strategies of integration; intervention at neighbourhood level. … Perhaps the community building strategy should be pursued to create communities with positive goals. … Turning desperate and angry neighbourhoods into communities is just one piece of the puzzle in a far larger undertaking: not that of primarily integrating only refugees, but all Italians."
States to prepare communities for refugees
In Estonia the social and interior ministers visited several of the country's cities and communities on Tuesday to explain how the 150 refugees that Estonia has agreed to take in will be accommodated. The liberal daily Postimees says this is a good first step: "Now that the number of refugees has been settled people should stop panicking and realise that a country of 1.3 million inhabitants can cope with that number. That it's really little more than a drop in the ocean. Each year many more times that come to Estonia, and it hasn't provoked any riots so far. The lack of information is fuelling doomsday scenarios. So the meetings between members of government and representatives of the local authorities responsible for settling the refugees families in the community are a sensible step."
Muslim migrants can be dangerous
In the Polish refugee debate there are a number of voices arguing that the country should take in only Christian refugees. The idea has the support of Jacek Tabisz, chairman of the Polish Humanist Association PSR, who writes in his blog on the liberal portal naTemat: "Essentially I find it good that [Prime Minister] Ewa Kopacz and her government have decided to take in migrants. Because this is a common problem for the EU and it can't be left to Italy and Greece to singlehandedly shoulder the responsibility for taking in refugees from Africa. … But it's not as simple as that. There have already been a few worrying incidents. … Muslim migrants have murdered fellow Christian travellers, throwing them into the sea. This is a known case, and there may be others like it. There may be similar murderers among the refugees that Poland takes in."
State hate propaganda fuels violence
Against the backdrop of the Hungarian government's poster campaign against refugees, journalist Péter Erdélyi on news website 444 points to a Harvard study that draws a connection between state propaganda and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda: "The study connects the quality of reception of the radical radio station RTLM in individual Rwandan villages with the number of people in those areas who were later suspected of involvement in the genocide. … The study came to the conclusion that the rabble-rousing radio station demonstrably increased acts of violence by 12 to 13 percent. … So in total 51,000 people took part in the killings simply because of the radio station. If there had been no propaganda against the Tutsis they probably wouldn't have been murdered."