What has the mini refugee summit achieved?
Under pressure from her own government Chancellor Merkel tried to find a pan-European solution to the migration issue at a meeting of 16 EU member states in Brussels on the weekend. The goal was to reach an agreement with individual countries on taking back migrants, ahead of the EU summit at the end of June. Commentators say Germany is writing the script for Europe's downfall.
Germany puts on a show in Brussels
The mini summit was laid on solely for the benefit of German audiences, comments Večernji List:
“Merkel's main concern was whether the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz would publicly side with her or Seehofer. But Kurz is not ready to take sides just yet. He is still bound to Seehofer by their joint decision to close the Balkan route [back in 2016], but Berlin is also important to him. ... This has put paid to the plan to find a bilateral or trilateral solution between Italy, Austria and Germany. But it was already clear that a broad European solution would not be achievable before Thursday or Friday at the earliest, in the European Council, and certainly wouldn't be forthcoming in an informal chat over coffee and biscuits.”
No need to panic
De Volkskrant wants to rouse the EU member states from their slumber:
“The governments of the member states are mainly concerned with appeasing their citizens, who are growing more and more hostile to refugees and migrants because of the chaos. In their panic they are trying to push the problem away instead of tackling it together. ... There are now solutions on the table for getting migration under control in the long term. But it also won't stop migrants from coming in the short term. So the member states must help Italy. The figures are now considerably lower than in recent years, meaning that the problem is manageable. Panic is completely unnecessary.”
Germany could bring about collapse of EU
Der Standard is pessimistic about the EU's ability to pull itself together:
“Why did these 16 government heads meet without Portugal, the Baltic states, Visegrád, Cyprus? This formation was never laid out in an EU contract. It shows that we cannot rule out further disintegration of the EU. The main reason for this is that the EU's most powerful economic and political power, Germany, is itself embroiled in conflict and deeply divided over how to act in Europe. In her 13th year in office Chancellor Angela Merkel not only seems tired, but also weakened. The loss of authority she has suffered at home through the dispute with the coalition partner the CSU is now playing out on a European level.”