Minors evacuated from overcrowded refugee camps

Germany and Luxembourg took in minors from refugee camps on the Greek islands over the weekend: 47 children landed in Hanover and 12 in Luxembourg. Seven other EU countries have said they will follow suit. The EU Commission has announced plans for European countries to take in a total of 1,600 youths. The German-language press is divided in its opinions on the move.

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Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

This can only be the beginning

Deutschlandfunk sees signs that the rescue operation is more than just a symbolic gesture:

“In the shadow of the global crisis a new 'coalition of the willing' has seen the light in Europe, from Luxembourg to Finland to Bulgaria. A network of authorities and organisations has emerged to support it. They are all involved in selecting and distributing young people in need of protection: in Greece, at the EU level, and at the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. It's also encouraging that the local heroes who've been helping refugees since 2015 can still be relied on. At the last count the Seebrücke network comprised around 150 cities and municipalities. ... And perhaps the European asylum policy is not completely dead either. The EU countries must keep the promises they have made and take in thousands more refugees! The rescues we're seeing now can only be the beginning.”

Tageblatt (LU) /

Solidarity for the cameras

Tageblatt is not impressed at all by the Luxembourg Foreign Minister casting himself as a hero just because twelve children were taken in:

“Jean Asselborn, the personification of the guilty conscience of the European community of values, has now welcomed these children at Luxembourg Airport, seizing the opportunity for a photo shoot. Children who were given no time to get their bearings, clean themselves up, have a bite to eat or find a moment of peace and quiet in these foreign surroundings. They had to be paraded in front of the camera first so that photos could be splashed across the newspapers. ... And twelve children out of 5,200 is not, as the press spokesman said in his announcement, 'the completion of a resettlement action carried out in response to the Hellenic Republic's call for solidarity'. It's a drop in the ocean.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Better than nothing

Austria is duty bound to also take in a few people, says Der Standard:

“Forty-seven unaccompanied minors from Greek refugee camps landed in Germany at the weekend. ... There are almost 40,000 people stuck in camps on the Greek islands, many of them children. Of these, 1,600 are to be brought to other EU states, ten of which have declared that they are willing to receive them. Austria has not. ... Not a single family, not a single child from any of the camps - that is truly shameful. Yes, we have our own worries and needs, but that doesn't free a state or society from the obligation to help others, even across borders. ... At least a gesture should be made, and the handful of people it benefits would be endlessly grateful.”