"Flexible solidarity" instead of refugee quotas?

Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have opposed EU refugee quotas and instead proposed the model of "flexible solidarity" at the EU summit in Bratislava. The concept aims to allow member states to decide for themselves how they will help ease the crisis, taking into account their respective experiences and capabilities. Will the Visegrád states' anti-refugee stance win out?

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Le Soir (BE) /

EU's foundations crumbling

Neither solidarity nor compassion hold the EU together anymore, Le Soir complains:

“Countries that want to take in refugees do so, and try to integrate them. Those that refuse for religious or racist reasons can choose to send a few more guards to patrol the external borders or participate in schemes to finance abroad the solidarity they don't want to show at home. ... Let there be no mistake: the more politicians' speeches evoke the EU's basic values, the less they actually abide by them. And the current that calls for 'realism' in implementing these values is now gaining the upper hand. Solidarity is no longer the cement that binds Europe together; it remains to be seen what will replace it. In fact this is more than a U-turn, it's a small death. Small because it's pitiful.”

Mediapart (FR) /

Orbánism becoming socially acceptable

One of the four Visegrád leaders was particularly successful in pushing through his demands at the EU summit, Mediapart comments:

“This is an early victory for Viktor Orbán, who is holding a referendum in Hungary on the European refugee policy on October 2. Two weeks before the vote his anti-refugee stance has been officially accepted by his counterparts. Some of the measures agreed on by the European Council even bear his signature. For example the monitoring of the border between Turkey and Bulgaria. On a trip to the region two days before the European summit, the Hungarian prime minister had insisted on the importance of 'defending' this border to his Bulgarian counterpart. ... The European leaders have now gone from failure to renunciation. The most backward-looking approach has won the day.”

Pravda (SK) /

Visegrád states ready to compromise

Pravda explains the model proposed by the Visegrád states at the EU summit in Bratislava:

“'Flexible solidarity' means that each state has the right to decide how it will help the EU - by taking in migrants, by strengthening border protection, or with money. There is already an example that shows that the newer members of the EU don't just want to be freeloaders. Last Monday they approved the EU budget for the coming year, which foresees cutbacks in the funds for poorer states whose economies are booming. This frees up more cash for managing the migration crisis and protecting the borders - 5.2 billion euros in total. … Slovakia, for example, must forego 69 million euros. But it wouldn't have occurred to it to block the proposal. This is what 'flexible solidarity' is about.”