EU interior ministers for more border controls

In the wake of the Vienna summit the EU interior ministers agreed on Thursday to step up controls of Europe's external borders. Commentators doubt the EU-Turkey summit on March 7 will bring a breakthrough on the refugee crisis.

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Pravda (SK) /

Border protection à la carte

The interior and justice ministers of the EU have reported progress in EU border protection. But which borders are they thinking of, the left-leaning daily Pravda wonders:

“The borders in the Aegean? The border between Austria and Slovenia? Or the one between Hungary and Croatia? Or are they talking about the patrols on the border between Macedonia and Greece which have left Greece out in the cold? … It's also unclear who is welcome at these borders and who isn't. … Greece has recalled its ambassador to Vienna, protesting that it's on the way to becoming just one great big refugee camp. … In view of all this can anyone see any real progress here? The only thing making any progress is the dissent within the EU.”

De Standaard (BE) /

Everyone for himself and all against the refugees

Europe is once again at a point where only national interests count, the liberal daily De Standaard complains:

“One country after the next has closed its borders. The corresponding procedure was agreed yesterday at a mini-summit, with the result that Greece has been sealed off from the outside. ... Our idea of Europe is changing drastically these days. Once again we are rediscovering the nation state with its borders and the illusion of security: Yikes, let's close the doors again! We couldn't care less who is left outside in the cold. The growing humanitarian plight of thousands of stranded war refugees in Greece or Turkey won't make a difference in this crisis. They might just as well not have bothered fleeing at all.”

To Vima Online (GR) /

Athens needs allies, not opponents

Athens is threatening to block all EU resolutions until the system for more equal distribution of refugees agreed last Autumn is put in place. This is the wrong tactic, the liberal online paper To Vima stresses:

“The decisive battle not only for Greece but for the future of Europe as a whole will be the summit taking place on March 7. There we will see if the forces of reason and solidarity triumph or the group of nationalists is able to break through Europe's cohesion, with unforeseeable consequences for everyone. Greece needs allies, not opponents, in this battle. And alliances are forged not with threats but on the basis of common values and interests. The response to the nationalists sealing their borders cannot be threats that lead nowhere.”