What to make of the EU's migration compromise?

The 28 EU heads of state and government want to strengthen the border control agency Frontex and establish processing centres for boat refugees, who are then to be distributed to EU member states that are willing to take them in. Commentators of left-wing and centre-left media focus on the fate of refugees who suffer under the policy of isolation.

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Mérce (HU) /

Europe not interested in Mediterranean deaths

People are not being made aware of the fatal consequences of Europe's new migration policy, the left-wing philosopher Gáspár Miklós Tamás comments in Kettős Mérce:

“The mainstream media, which are very inaccurately referred to as 'liberal', are trivialising and normalising what is going on and drowning it in unimportant tactical details. And the public, freed in this way from the responsibility, from the obligations of adult individuals, doesn't even have to perceive the tragedy and can go its daily life as usual. Watch films, lie on the beach, gossip, flirt, ride bikes, hang out and chat. Back in the beautiful summer of 1944 thousands of people went rowing on the Danube, music was played on Hajógyári Island and the selection on 'Book Day' was wonderful.”

Malta Today (MT) /

Human rights no longer count

With its new course in migration policy the EU is burying its ideals, Malta Today criticises:

“Apart from lacking in solidarity towards the countries on the frontline, the EU’s approach also seems lacking in altruism towards genuine asylum seekers who take such risks to get to Europe in the first place. The only message of note to the outside world is that Europe does not want migrants, full-stop. Whether that will be enough to stop people fleeing desperation from trying to make it to European shores, has yet to be seen. It is certainly not enough for the EU to live up to its own lofty ideals of human rights protection.”

Avgi (GR) /

EU setting sights for dissolution

Commenting in Avgi columnist Giannis Kibouropoulos criticises the isolationist course adopted by the EU at the summit in Brussels:

“Two years ago Hungary's far-right nationalist Orbán was depicted as a disgrace for Europe. Today his programme forms the basis for the 'European solution' that is being implemented by Merkel to save her coalition government. A 'solution' that leads to the contradictory reintroduction of internal borders in the EU and the federalisation of its external borders. This is a recipe for dissolution, not for a solution. ... The alternative for those who see the EU as irreversible would be to start again from scratch. But to my knowledge no one has that on their agenda.”

Spiegel Online (DE) /

"Union" a case of false labelling

Spiegel Online draws sobering conclusions from the summit:

“So this is what Europe's attitude to assuming responsibility for the victims of war, hunger and displacement will be: 'Not a good situation, but luckily they're no longer heading our way.' ... The bitter fact is that hardline isolationism seems to be the only thing keeping the EU together. In this summit night a policy of 'Europe first' won out. This Europe, however, is no more than a conglomeration of nations that are all going their own way. The EU member states only move in the same direction, without any commitment, for as long as it serves their respective interests. That we continue to use all our powers of self-hypnosis to call ourselves a 'Union' is increasingly being revealed as a case of false labelling.”

Mladá fronta dnes (CZ) /

An end to wilful idleness

The Brussels summit marks a long-overdue turning point in migration policy, Mladá fronta dnes comments:

“Right to the end, the majority of European governments searched for reasons to do nothing in the face of threats to the continent's civilisation. Angela Merkel embodied this wilful idleness. She and others only changed their mind when their own power came under threat. Too late and against their will, they are now saying that only a Fortress Europe can stem the tide of migration. For that to happen, governments had to change and protest parties had to form and win out against the established parties and mainstream media. Europe's elites have taken the right direction, but only because their power is eroding. This power is the only thing that really interests them.”

Magyar Hírlap (HU) /

Words should be followed by actions

Mariann Öry, head of the foreign affairs desk at the pro-government daily Magyar Hírlap, welcomes the decision to strengthen EU outer border protection:

“Now words must be followed by deeds, because as we have often seen the problem-solving in Europe often fails in this respect. Conte may well be praised at home and Merkel may survive the government crisis - and then everything gets logjammed again. This script would be bad for everyone, firstly because voters must not be betrayed and secondly because the migration problem is one that won't resolve itself simply because we refuse to ignore it. The border protection measures and the deportations must be put into practice.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Must Croatia take the blame for the compromise?

As Croatia is not part of the Schengen Area Večernji list fears that the country will become a huge refugee camp:

“If this is supposed to be a funny gift from the chancellor to mark the fifth anniversary of our EU membership, well thanks a lot but we would appreciate it more if we, as the youngest EU member, weren't to be separated from the other EU members by Nato security barriers, fences, traffic jams at borders and now perhaps stepped-up German border patrols in Plovanija, Bregana, Macelj and Mursko Središće. A solution that turns Croatia into the appendix of the EU, its most isolated member, is not in the interest of either the European sense of community or the EU or Croatia.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Stop refugees before they reach Europe

Refugee camps in Africa are the only way to stop migration to Europe, Die Presse comments approvingly:

“The migrants are being taken hostage by the smugglers, the threat directed at governments is that the ships will sink and their occupants drown unless they tolerate illegal entry. Then they must face the horrifying images broadcast across the globe, and the blame apportioned to the government in question. As long as this blackmail works, illegal migration across the Mediterranean will be unstoppable. ... The only real solution is to consistently and without exception first rescue and then bring back to Africa, never to Europe, all those who try to come here, according to the Australian model. That's it. Any other approach is nonsense.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Develop Africa instead of locking it out

The money needed to set up refugee camps in Africa could be put to better use, Der Standard counters:

“Africa has the best chance since the scourge of colonialism of waking up from the nightmare it was plunged into by European migrants: technologies like the Internet and Chinese involvement in infrastructure have opened up entirely new possibilities. And Hungarian investment guru George Soros is convinced that with a 'Marshall Plan' encompassing 30 billion euros per year many African economies could gain momentum. How much the Europeans are willing to pay for long-term solutions is up to them. They should, however, take into account that every euro invested in turning Europe into a fortress is unproductive and in the long term useless - while investing the same money sensibly in Africa would work in everyone's favour.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Italy has accomplished nothing

Italy has failed miserably with its attempt to force a reform of the Dublin Regulation, La Repubblica concludes:

“No one wants a reform of the Dublin Regulation. Orbán, the little Hungarian Mussolini and the Lega's chosen sovereigntist role model, doesn't want mandatory distribution quotas. Libya doesn't want hotspots in the countries of origin, and neither Merkel nor Macron want reception centres scattered across the EU. If this is the result, what remains of Matteo Salvini's wild campaign? Little or nothing. To blame for this state of affairs are the governments of an EU that, trapped by their own egotisms, are handing the national populists the noose with which they can hang the EU. But the government of an Italy that failed to seek allies is also to blame.”