Dozens of refugees suffocate in lorry

The Austrian police on Thursday discovered the bodies of more than 70 refugees in a truck abandoned on the hard shoulder of a motorway. Minister of the Interior Johanna Mikl-Leitner has said asylum seekers with a chance of being allowed to stay should be permitted to enter the EU legally. Such a move would deprive traffickers of their means of sustenance, commentators write in approval, and urge people to try and see things from the refugees' perspective.

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Aargauer Zeitung (CH) /

Spoil refugee smugglers' business model

Following the refugee tragedy in Austria the liberal Aargauer Zeitung calls for the EU to take steps to destroy the smugglers' business model: "Anyone who wants to be credible in their outrage at these lowlifes should at least stop driving refugees straight into their arms. Smugglers are only successful where there's no legal route. … Only people who fear being attacked and sent back otherwise will get in the back of a lorry with a big burly driver. If the police were to destroy the criminal bazaars on the borders or at the main train stations, they could be sure of the victims' approval. Setting up help centres to provide emergency supplies and information at critical border crossings and in those places where refugees gather would already be a big help. As things stand now, that's a punishable offence; aiding illegal border crossing. This is unnecessary and absurd."

Kurier (AT) /

Fear, despair, humiliation, suffocation

After the discovery of a lorry containing dozens of dead refugees the liberal daily Kurier asks readers to put themselves in the position of those who died: "What was it like? The fear, the hope, the despair. The relief at having escaped war and agony, tempered by the premonition of other impending dangers. Having to rely on people who don't waste another thought on you as soon as you've given them the last of your money. How did that feel? The darkness, the degradingly cramped quarters, the stench. The humiliation of having to relieve yourself no more than inches from your neighbour. The hunger, the thirst, the heat. What was it like? When the level of oxygen dwindled, when no one heard the cries of desperation, when the first people died? The frenzied fear, the last thoughts of home and family, the last gasp for breath? And now imagine it was your own son or daughter in that lorry."

Novi list (HR) /

EU lacks solidarity as a fundamental value

Disappointment at the EU's lack of solidarity with the refugees is the centre-left daily Novi List's reaction to the situation: "The main problem is that the EU is not a social union or a union of solidarity, as the Greek crisis has amply demonstrated, but a capital union. The Slovenian analyst Anton Bebler wrote in the newspaper Delo that according to the Treaty of Lisbon solidarity is not one of the EU's fundamental values - whereas freedom, democracy, the rule of law and protecting human rights and the rights of minorities are. Solidarity is left to each member state to decide on. If a state's domestic policy displays solidarity, that doesn't necessarily mean it must display solidarity in its foreign policy. But the people knocking on Europe's doors today need European solidarity. Most of them are refugees fleeing war and death, while only a minority are migrants seeking a better life."

Sme (SK) /

Slovakia must not ignore refugee drama

Until now Slovakia has not been a destination for the tens of thousands of refugees coming to Europe via the Western Balkans. But the lorry of death discovered on Thursday on a motorway south of Vienna once belonged to a Slovakian company, and that alone should prompt Slovakians to reflect on their attitude towards the refugees, the liberal daily Sme admonishes: "This horrible tragedy not far from our borders reminds us that the refugees are also our problem. The Slovakian logo on the lorry in which dozens of people suffocated isn't the only thing that binds us to the refugees. ... Such alarming dramas are taking place all around us on a daily basis. Nonetheless many Slovakians go on turning a blind eye and saying the tragedy has nothing to do with them. But such an assertion is wrong - and a tragedy in itself."