Still no refugee quotas
The EU interior ministers failed again on Monday to reach an agreement on the Commission's proposal for refugee quotas and postponed the decision on how a total of 160,000 refugees should be redistributed throughout the EU. Some commentators complain that the photo of little Aylan has done nothing to change the stance of individual states. Others hope that the heads of state and government will set aside their differences.
Powerless EU collapses
The EU is hopelessly at odds over refugee policy, the liberal daily La Stampa writes in dismay: "What we call Europe - in the belief that it is a political reality and not just a puzzle made up of interests, tricks and hypocrisy - has collapsed under the weight of its own powerlessness. Without quotas for refugees, and with borders that close one after another instead. ... While mothers and their children were drowning in the Mediterranean, our representatives in Brussels were quarrelling over ridiculously low refugee quotas: 5,000 here, 1,000 there. The disconnected nature of technocracy can now be seen more clearly than ever before: it believes it can control reality with absurd rules that weren't passed according to real needs but which reflect the balance of power among the 28 countries of the so-called Union. This is the Brussels version of the banality of evil: the belief that it is sufficient to react to the epochal tsunami of migration with sober-minded joint decisions."
Europe's solidarity has evaporated
The shock impact of the photo of the dead Syrian refugee boy Aylan has quickly evaporated, the centre-left daily El Periódico de Catalunya complains: "Not two weeks have passed since the photos of the Syrian boy rudely awakened the consciences of the Europeans and softened the stringent position of a few governments on the refugees' plight, and already things have gone back to the way they were before. Part of society (above all in so-called Western Europe) is organising networks to receive the masses who are fleeing the conflicts in Asia and Africa. Meanwhile the governments of the EU are still caught up in bureaucratic disputes and electoral strategies. In many cases, including that of Spain, they are completely forgetting their own recent past in which the generations before them suffered the same fate."
The EU an Egoistic Union?
The EU threatens to break apart over the refugee crisis, the news magazine Spiegel Online fears, and regrets that the EU governments' attitudes "don't show any signs whatsoever of a common approach that could provide at least a glimmer of hope for a long-term solution to the refugee crisis. That would require the EU states to coordinate their foreign, economic, security and development policies to give them the clout needed to address crises at their sources - and prevent floods of refugees before they even begin. That, however, would require a level of consensus of which there is no sign at present. ... All of this faces the EU with existential questions: does it want to be a community of states that tackles problems as one even if they concern some states more than others? Or does it want to be a sort of easy going free-trade zone whose members decide all issues on their own - and in their own interests?"
Last-minute agreement still on the cards
The heads of state and government may yet reach an agreement on refugee policy, the daily România Liberă hopes: "In formal terms just 18 of the 28 states would have been needed to reach an agreement. However that's not how things worked out. The reason: as a rule decisions are reached by consensus. If large differences persist between the states, the heads of state and government are given the last say. ... Until now ten states from Eastern and Northern Europe have allegedly rejected the quota system. But nothing is written in stone, and the next summit could see a last-minute change of heart. ... On the other hand it must be said that for 48 hours now the Schengen Area has been torn asunder. And that won't change as long as there is no common European decision on refugees."