Europe weighed down by refugee crisis
Every day more people are fleeing war and poverty and seeking asylum in Europe. The EU member states are at loggerheads over refugee quotas, the authorities are often overburdened, and parts of the population are opposed to taking in asylum seekers outright. Europe's moral credibility is at stake in the refugee crisis, commentators write, and look to the future in alarm.
Europe must not be a fortress
The tendency of many European states to seal themselves off from refugees instead of helping them is shameful, columnist Martina Devlin writes in the conservative daily Irish Independent: "Why is there a Fortress Europe mentality, despite the fact that what's happening on its shores is widely accepted as an emergency? ... Even if these people have no legal right to be in Europe, don't they have a moral claim towards protection? Isn't fellow humanity entitlement enough? Seventy years ago, after World War II ended, countries had to ask themselves whether they did enough to prevent the Holocaust - and some nations were obliged to hang their heads in shame. Now it's time to pose the same question."
Our psyche is imprisoned in a golden cage
Europe is betraying its basic values and damaging its own psyche by sealing itself off from refugees, political scientist Fernando Vallespín writes in the centre-left daily El País: "Ironically, Brussels is reacting to the problem as if it were merely an administrative matter that could be solved by closing down borders in the most efficient way possible. But in so doing it's ignoring the true dimension of this business: namely the humanitarian crisis that should jolt us into not abandoning the moral values that we want to pass on. ... We have become prisoners to our own success. We live in a supposedly golden cage whose bars are meant to exclude the others while at the same time confining those who are trying to profit from the situation. Ours is a sort of psychological captivity, which doesn't make it any less real. Because what can be worse than living in a permanent moral contradiction?"
Today's flood of refugees only the beginning
The current influx of refugees into Europe is just the start, the Hungarian-language Slovakian paper Új Szó writes with an eye to a UN forecast: "Between 2010 and 2015, an average of 4.1 million people migrated every year from developing countries to the industrial states. By 2050 a further 91 million refugees are expected. ... The anticipated demographic developments are worrying indeed. While Europe's population (roughly 38 billion today) will stagnate, according to the UN, Africa's population will rise from 1.2 billion to 2.5 billion. ... This means today's dramatic flood of refugees is just a mild foretaste of what's to come. If the UN forecast proves correct, Europe as we know it will unrecognisable. The immigrants and their descendants will be the majority in many EU states by 2050."