What will remain once Idomeni is cleared?

The Greek authorities have begun clearing the refugee camp at Idomeni. Since the closure of the Balkan route at the end of February up to 15,000 refugees have lived there. Commentators once again turn their attention to the camp, which has become a symbol of Europe's refugee crisis.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Deterrence a key component of asylum policy

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung explains what the real message of the images from Idomeni was:

“No one could be left cold by the conditions in which the migrants in Idomeni were forced to live. But the photos and reports from there could no longer move the chancellor to once again put charity above the law. Idomeni was an ugly stopover on the path from a chaotic and almost fatalistic approach to the refugee crisis to an orderly migration policy which, as cold-hearted as it may sound, had to contain elements of deterrence. The photos from Idomeni made an impact; some in the EU had relied on this as a corrective measure against the effect of the chancellor's selfies with refugees. The unmistakable message from the camp was: the final destination of irregular migration on the Balkan route is not Austria or Germany but an expanse of mud on the border with Macedonia.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Where Europe's basic values lie buried

Idomeni is a symbol of Europe's failure as a community for El Periódico de Catalunya:

“Europe has buried its dignity in Idomeni. … Idomeni symbolises Europe's departure from its founding principles. Set up as an improvised measure in 2014, the camp continued to exist without any plans for its closure. Two years had to pass. Greece, weighed down by its huge economic crisis, was left to deal with a situation that was completely beyond its means. Fortunately it was able to count on the invaluable support of various NGOs.”

Naftemporiki (GR) /

Idomeni damaged Greek economy

The business paper Naftemporiki describes the consequences of rail traffic between Greece and Macedonia being blocked for weeks on end:

“The railway blockade dealt a heavy blow to export-import companies, which were forced to use other routes to transport their products. These companies had to ship via Bulgaria, which prolonged delivery times. The route through Bulgaria takes two or more days longer than the rail route via Idomeni. The estimated additional costs per train were between 7,000 and 10,000 euros. Moreover, the closure of the railway crossing in Idomeni was highly detrimental for Piräus, which is so strategically important for Cosco, the Chinese operator of the port. ... And the port of Thessaloniki has also suffered major losses.”