Channel Tunnel refugee drama
In the last two nights alone, more than 3,000 people apparently tried to enter the UK via the Channel Tunnel from Calais. Another young man died in the attempt on Tuesday night. The countries of Europe must finally start cooperating on the refugee problem, some commentators urge. Others stress that the problem can only be resolved through a crackdown operation off Libya's coast.
Politicians shutting their eyes in Calais
Politicians in France and the UK are partly to blame for the drama in Calais, writes the centre-left daily De Morgen: "For fear of losing voters to xenophobic parties they have averted their eyes for more than a decade. The current theory about combating human smuggling is of course valid. But human smuggling only flourishes if the state fails to intervene. As is the case in Calais. Now the politicians in Calais are planning to build a fence. … This is Europe in 2015, and London and Paris are opting to treat refugees like dangerous animals in a zoo. … If French President François Hollande doesn't want to undermine the values of freedom, equality and fraternity he should accept the help Europe is offering him. The British money that has been earmarked for the fence could then be invested in a European migration policy that preserves universal human rights."
Set up sea blockade off Libyan coast
The drama in Calais can only be ended through decisive action against human smuggling, the right-wing daily De Telegraaf points out: "For months now we have been waiting for appropriate reaction to the humanitarian drama, and particularly from France. This week 4,000 refugees who aren't controlled or registered have gathered in Calais. The French must look into whether these people really have a right to asylum. At the same time these problems are hurting Europe economically because lorries are stuck on both sides of the Channel. The British want to rapidly erect a two-kilometre fence and the French are sending extra police. But a true solution can only be achieved by fighting the unscrupulous human smugglers. This requires a bold intervention in the form of a sea blockade off the coast of Libya."
London must work with Paris
The British government will only be able to stop refugees from coming through the Channel Tunnel by cooperating with its European partners, the centre-left daily The Guardian argues: "Migration pressures from Syria and sub-Saharan Africa are human realities. They have not arisen because of EU treaties or directives. Some asylum seekers would want to get to Britain from France anyway. Equally, any long-term effort to manage or reduce such pressures can only be carried out by the nations working together, however difficult that can sometimes be. ... This is neither a purely British problem nor a purely French one. It is a joint problem. It must be solved jointly - and humanely as well as firmly."
Tackle asylum policy together
Only by providing genuine and shared solutions can Europe's governments prevent the immigration debate from further bolstering xenophobic forces, warns the centre-left daily El País: "Regardless of the fact that Europe's aging population needs a new influx of people parties that rail against immigration are abusing the debate to criticise the rapid changes in Europe, globalisation and the heavy spending on foreigners. The parties of the democratic centre must take a different approach: jointly tackling immigration and asylum policy, educating the population and sharing the high cost for finding a real solution to this major problem. Under no circumstances should the proponents of Europe allow the affected countries to act alone. … The Cameron government undoubtedly needs French and pan-European support to prevent right-wing populists from gaining even more ground through this issue."