Moria: obstacles to a pan-European solution

In the aftermath of the fire in Moria, apart from 400 unaccompanied minors, Athens has not taken any refugees off the island of Lesbos but instead set up a temporary tent camp. Germany has announced it would take in more than 1,600 refugees from Greece, and France has also said it will take several hundred.

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Kathimerini (GR) /

Fire the best thing that could happen

Once again it has taken a disaster for things to start happening, Kathimerini sighs:

“A crime has brought about a happy result! ... According to Hannah Arendt, violence that results from anger is not only understandable but also morally justified. ... Just because you live like an animal doesn't mean you've become one. ... Have you seen all that's happened after Moria was burned? Everyone was suddenly shaken out of their lethargy. Now there is talk about smaller, more humane structures. Hundreds of unaccompanied children have been taken to shelters in Thessaloniki. Germany will take in 1,500 refugees. The prime minister has said that the destruction of Moria was an 'opportunity', while the EU has announced a new, pan-European approach to migration. Let there be no doubt: the Moria fire was the best thing that could have happened to the camp.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Sweden using same old figures as an excuse

Sweden's red-green government is refusing to accept underage asylum seekers from Greece. Dagens Nyheter is unconvinced by its reasoning:

“Morgan Johansson, the [Social Democrat] Minister of Justice and Migration, has made a habit of emphasising, with broad parliamentary support, that Sweden has already taken in more unaccompanied minors than other countries and that other EU member states must therefore do more now. This is partly true. In 2015 Sweden took in about a third of the minors who had come to the EU, i.e. around 34,000 out of a total of 95,000. But that was an exceptional situation. Last year it was only 890 out of 18,000. How much longer can Sweden keep justifying its harsh policy with what it did five years ago?”

Krytyka Polityczna (PL) /

Poland must finally assume responsibility

Krytyka Polityczna comments that Poland now has a chance to make up for what it hasn't done to help in the past:

“The situation of refugees could be different if countries like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, which did not accept refugees under the EU relocation programme, had fulfilled their obligations and shown solidarity with the refugees in recent years. Only 6,000 people were to come to Poland, the government led by Ewa Kopacz decided. But despite these declarations Poland failed to meet even this obligation in the years that followed. ... Now our country has the chance to fulfil its obligation by rescuing people from the burnt-down Moria camp. More and more countries are joining the list of those planning an evacuation from Lesbos, but Poland still isn't one of them.”

Avgi (GR) /

Shut down the concentration camps!

243 refugees in the provisional new camp on Lesbos have already tested positive for coronavirus. The left-wing daily Avgi is dismayed:

“After the fire in Moria and the repercussions of the last few days, the outbreak of the pandemic among refugees is now being used as an additional argument for locking up thousands of people in closed facilities. In concentration camps which no one can leave. ... And all of this with is tolerated by a democratic, humanitarian Europe. Setting up concentration camps on the islands is a humanitarian crime. Let's make that clear right now. Because that's how it will be described in the history books one day, even if we turn around and claim that we didn't know or hear anything about it.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Those ready to sacrifice values should stand by their views

There was plenty of time to act and not just to talk, the Tages-Anzeiger laments:

“The dark blazer of any discussion on migration policy is the phrase 'help on site'. It always fits, can be combined with almost any ideological outfit, looks sporty and modern and is never offensive. ... Anyone who uses the phrase signals: I am not a naive do-gooder, but I'm not a monster either. ... The way refugees in Moria and on other Greek islands are being treated violates the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the Geneva Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. ... The advocates of this deliberately created horror are prepared to sacrifice basic humanitarian values and violate international law as well as the principles of the rule of law. They should at least have the courage to stand by that decision now.”

Der Spiegel (DE) /

Have the courage to go it alone

Those who always point to Europe in the search for a solution are making it too easy for themselves, Der Spiegel argues:

“Those who insist on a European solution don't really want a solution at all, because it has long been clear that the 27 EU states will never agree on a common asylum policy. But if a majority of the EU states is willing to simply accept that one of their members denies refugees any protection, as was the case in Hungary in 2015 and as is now the case in Greece, then a national solo effort is not a mistake - it is a necessity. It was right of Chancellor Angela Merkel to bring the refugees from Hungary to Germany. And it would be just as right today to evacuate the refugees from Lesbos.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Economic migrants still harbour illusions

European asylum policy lacks consistency, Der Standard explains:

“The majority of the residents of Moria and other camps are no longer Syrian war refugees but Afghans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and black Africans. Their chances of being granted asylum are not great. They can only be effectively 'deterred' in the long term if the second, always neglected part of the EU-Turkey agreement is implemented. The Greeks would have to issue asylum notices within two months, and those who are rejected will be sent back to Turkey. ... [What we need is] a second deal that gives real asylum seekers a chance to be accepted while rigorously sending the others back. At present, the economic migrants' illusion that one day they'll get through is being maintained.”