Sea change in Spanish refugee policy?
Last summer the newly elected Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez made headlines when he allowed the Aquarius to dock in Spain with hundreds of refugees on board. Now, with the rescue ship Open Arms trying in vain to find a safe port for 121 migrants, Sánchez is keeping very quiet. The press reaction in Spain is divided.
Government refocusses on realpolitik
At last Sánchez has realised that PR stunts are not necessarily the best way of doing politics, ABC comments approvingly:
“The propaganda gambits that characterise the Sánchez government caused a surge in the number of immigrants arriving by sea last summer. The silence of the caretaker government regarding the 'Open Arms - weighed down with people from Sub-Saharan Africa and so far without a fixed destination, exactly like the 'Aquarius' back then - is evidence of a radical turnaround. Sánchez is now being realistic about the migration problem - no big talk, all very discreet - because last time he ended up taking things too far and fell victim to his own demagogy.”
Commenting on eldiario.es, Violeta Assiego is harshly critical of the government:
“The page has been turned and the government is no longer bragging about protecting refugees like it did last summer. It is no longer backing the proposals of others (France and Germany) for seeking a European response to the migration crisis. ... I don't know if Pedro Sánchez realises that his stance on the 'Open Arms' will require him to rewrite that fantastic-sounding statement in his book: 'Having saved the lives of 630 people shows that a life in politics is worthwhile'. Hopefully he won't have to replace that sentence with: 'Having left a hundred people in the lurch without caring if they live or die shows that putting politics before humanity is worthwhile.'”