What should the EU's refugee policy be?

Many politicians are warning that there will be more refugees from Afghanistan, but given the situation in the region and the blocked escape routes, it is not clear how many people will arrive in Europe in the short term. However the EU is also under pressure at its borders with Belarus, Morocco and Turkey. Commentators describe the options for a coherent European refugee policy.

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Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Open up internally, close off externally

In an article for the Gazeta Wyborcza, Polish author Szczepan Twardoch supports the stance of Poland's main opposition party, the PO:

“I am not happy about Donald Tusk's return to Polish politics, which cements the accursed PiS-PO duopoly. Nevertheless, on the issue of the tragedy unfolding on Poland's eastern border, Tusk speaks like a politician who has understood that Poland's membership in the EU means not only open borders - which according to the local 'Europeanists' mean jaunts to Lisbon on budget airlines - but also closed external borders. And it is hard to disagree with him here.”

Iltalehti (FI) /

Make distinction between asylum seekers and job seekers

The EU needs to differentiate at an earlier stage and more efficiently between migrants seeking protection and those seeking work, demands Iltalehti:

“The main problem with the current asylum system is that many people believe that it will be easier to get into the EU if they ask for asylum. This 'systematic error' places a particular burden on the EU's peripheral states. At the same time, it stops many migrants who want to work from coming to Europe. The EU urgently needs to work out a clear and uniform approach in which those who really need protection are already separated from other arrivals before they enter the EU.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Voluntary schemes won't help

The EU passed the Temporary Protection Directive - also known as the mass influx directive - in 2001, and despite certain hurdles it could be applied in the current situation, La Stampa points out:

“The directive is designed to deal with a potential mass influx of asylum seekers. ... It provides for the harmonisation of procedures across the EU to guarantee up to three years of international protection, access to housing, work, social welfare, medical care and education for minors. The burden is to be shared between member states, and unanimity is not required for its application. However, it stipulates no obligation to take in those seeking refuge: distribution among countries is on a voluntary basis.”

Jornal de Notícias (PT) /

Europe needs courageous leaders

Jornal de Notícias describes what it believes is needed to meet the challenge of the refugee crisis:

“In the last migration crisis a few Western leaders, such as Angela Merkel, set a good example and welcomed the people who knocked on our doors. ... In these times of demagogy, when the danger of right-wing extremism lurks around every corner, we need strong leaders with the courage to counter the disinformation campaigns against those now arriving and the ability to circumvent this anti-migration rhetoric that seeks to demonise the taking in of refugees.”