Seehofer warns of a new "refugee crisis"
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer warned on the weekend that Europe could be facing an even larger wave of migration than in 2015. During visits to Ankara and Athens together with EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos he promised support in dealing with refugees and protecting the countries' borders. Commentators stress the need for new solutions in refugee policy.
Don't leave Turkey in the lurch
It's a good thing that Seehofer is holding out the prospect of further help for Turkey, Handelsblatt comments:
“Turkey is groaning under the weight of more than four million refugees, and the government is coming under increasing domestic pressure. The refugee pact with Ankara is beginning to falter - and with it the central element of European migration management. ... When the huge floods of refugees came to the region in 2015, the Europeans reacted too late. This time they have been warned. For the sake of protecting its own interests if nothing else, Europe can't afford to leave Turkey in the lurch.”
Greek officials must cooperate
Finding a solution to the problem of migration doesn't depend on help from the EU, Kathimerini stresses:
“Irregular migration is a problem that is affecting Greece, but it is not a Greek problem. Its management depends first and foremost on the European Union's ability to find a modus vivendi with Turkey. But there is also a domestic aspect that cannot wait for the fruits of these diplomatic efforts. The Greek state must manage those people who are already in the country and seeking asylum. ... Managing migration will be much easier if everyone - and especially local officials - demonstrates a spirit of cooperation, operational readiness and composure.”
EU bears more responsibility than Erdoğan
Not Turkey but the EU is responsible for the current situation, Phileleftheros stresses:
“It's easy to accuse Turkey of heartlessness. Erdoğan is using the difficult circumstances of millions of people to further his own plans. He doesn't care about their needs but is merely using them as bargaining chips. Nevertheless, the bulk of responsibility for the exploitation of refugees and immigrants doesn't lie with Turkey but with the European Union, which hasn't dealt with the matter either in human or in global terms so as to help all its member states. So while some countries have to bear the burden, others are merely looking on as the events unfold.”
Europe can be blackmailed
The EU has no clear policy regarding Ankara, Magyar Nemzet observes:
“The semi-official standpoint of Germany and Europe regarding Turkey is that it has increasingly distanced itself from Europe and fundamental democratic principles and so accession talks should be dropped once and for all. ... On the international level, however, Europe's politicians never stop stressing that Turkey is a crucial ally. The background to this double narrative is the migration pressure on Europe, which the European bloc can hardly deal with without Ankara's generous help. ... So by and large Seehofer's visit to Turkey yesterday was influenced by this relationship of dependency which clearly favours Erdoğan.”