Heads of government seek solution for Balkan route
The heads of government of eight EU states plus Serbia and Macedonia plan to discuss the refugee situation on the so-called Balkan route on Sunday in Brussels. This is a major opportunity for the hardest-hit countries to develop a joint strategy, some commentators point out. Others claim the states agreed on a restrictive asylum policy long ago.
Time for a joint decision on the Balkan route
The refugee summit of the most affected European states is a great opportunity to set out clear arrangements, the liberal daily Jutarnji list stresses: "Merkel will have to tell the other leaders what Germany wants, and whether or when it plans to slow down or stop its refugee intake. Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia are all expecting answers here. Everyone fears that if Germany stops taking in refugees a backlog will build up in the countries to the south. … This will be a unique opportunity for everyone to state their opinion and not hurl accusations at each other via the media and at bilateral meetings. Everyone is in the same boat and can only overcome the crisis together. The alternative would be to drive the refugees from border to border and keep on blaming each other."
Myth of Europe as a safe haven crumbles
Europe's politicians must finally tell the truth in the refugee crisis, the conservative daily Le Figaro warns: "Europe seems powerless, full of cracks and fissures. However the Europeans are more united in their reaction to this challenge than their leaders let on. When Angela Merkel sighs that we must now 'pay the price of globalisation', when Jean-Claude Juncker weeps over 'self-absorbed' Europe, they are completely missing the point. The truth - and it's too bad that Viktor Orbán is the only one saying it - is that not a single nation has given a mandate to its leaders to welcome hundreds of thousands of migrants willy-nilly. And, regardless of what they say, all countries are tightening their systems for monitoring and expelling illegal immigrants. Even 'Mother Angela' is planning to use military aircraft to return 200,000 migrants whose applications have been rejected. The myth of the European safe haven is collapsing - onto those who built it and the exiles who believed in it."
EU's fear of refugees is laughable
It's unacceptable that a number of EU states still oppose distribution quotas for the refugees, the centre-left weekly Le Jeudi writes: "All of these blockades can only lead to disaster. Germany can't take in all the refugees on its own, so it's unacceptable that the Eastern European countries seal themselves off in this way. … Europe only has itself to blame for its current impasse. The only path open to it now is the path of dignity - towards the migrants and towards itself. The rest is like the story of the elephant that's afraid of the mouse. Even if the EU takes in a million refugees, that would only represent 0.2 percent of its population. You really have to lack confidence in our values and cultural models to think that the European house will collapse if it opens its doors."
Sweden's idealism also has its limits
Sweden is expecting up to 190,000 asylum seekers this year, according to current forecasts. The country that is known for its generous asylum policy is now being forced to look reality in the eye, the centre-right daily Jyllands-Posten comments: "The united front against the [right-wing] Sweden Democrats has collapsed. One party after another has come to terms with reality and distanced itself from the romantic delusion that the politicians and media had until now been clinging to in a grotesque alliance. Now the focus is on the quick processing of asylum applications, tightened border controls and support for EU plans for reception centres in Southern Europe. ... Not so long ago Prime Minister Stefan Löfven loftily condemned the countries that had resorted to just such measures to deal with the flood of refugees. Now Sweden must also admit that idealism has its limits: it's doing exactly the same thing."