Juncker calls for solidarity in refugee crisis
Addressing the European Parliament on Wednesday, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called on the EU member states to redistribute an additional 120,000 refugees throughout the Union. His plan balances humanitarian needs with economic feasibility, some commentators write in praise. Others demand clearer rules on migration.
Compromise between compassion and sobriety
The proposals of the EU Commission president represent a good compromise, the conservative daily the Financial Times comments enthusiastically: "The refugee crisis has stirred deep and complex emotions across the EU. Mr Juncker is now offering an approach that is hard-headed but humane. Under his plan, the bloc recognises that it cannot provide a home for millions of economic migrants seeking a better life in Europe. But true to its humanitarian traditions, the EU will welcome those who have been displaced by violence and war. After much division and confusion in its ranks, Mr Juncker has set out the right road for Europe to take."
Put an end to haggling over quotas
A quota system for distributing the refugees won't be enough, the centre-left business paper Cinco Días stresses: "The new attitude of the principal European capitals is a welcome turnaround and indispensable, albeit incomplete. Several countries, including Spain, are still resisting the EU Commission's proposal to convert this mechanism of distribution into a permanent and mandatory system so as to avoid the embarrassing haggling. … However the fixed quota system of distribution is not enough on its own. The EU must also harmonise the regulations and financing for asylum as well as centralising the processes. In other words: the same response as applies for other areas of policy such as economic policy or foreign policy. What is needed is more Europe, much more Europe in every area so that the EU gets back into top form and achieves maximum levels of efficiency, solidarity and legitimacy in the eyes of its own citizens."
Migration must be regulated
Juncker's recommendation on the redistribution of a further 120,000 refugees in the EU takes no account of the views of the inhabitants of the member states regarding migration, the centre-right daily Berlingske criticises: "Unfortunately nothing in Juncker's speech indicates that the EU Commission has understood that the population wants the flood of immigrants to be controlled. ... He took no position on the objections of an entire group of member states - and not just Eastern European ones - who argue that the asylum requests of people who fought their way into the EU illegally should not be processed, as doing so would only increase the flow of migrants. Juncker also suggested that asylum seekers should be given work permits right from the start. ... Certainly there is a lack of qualified workers in the EU, and it makes sense to employ well-educated Syrians. But that should be done in a controlled way with a 'green card', and not just by handing out work permits to all those who entered the EU illegally."
Keep it real
Now the countries of Europe have decided they want to take in refugees after all, the liberal daily Corriere del Ticino comments with a shake of the head: "Mesmerised by the decisions of its only true leader Angela Merkel, the Union has swung from one extreme to the other on the issue of immigration. ... However it's not enough to explain such swings merely with the grand emotions engendered by one symbolic photo which resulted in Merkel's extraordinary humanitarian gesture. The about-face in Europe, which for a long time remained indifferent to the tragedy on the Mediterranean that has so far claimed 2,500 lives, must be analysed objectively and with a cool head. We must not lose touch with reality, which would only fuel populism and nationalism. ... Only by keeping a level head can we ensure manageable integration that respects the rights of everyone concerned for the migrants."