How should Europe tackle migration?
Representatives from more than 20 European countries have met in Vienna to discuss migration. Among the main topics were repatriations and the fight against traffickers. Oliver Varhelyi, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, announced 355 million euros in funding for the Western Balkan countries to help them provide for stranded asylum seekers. Commentators stress that increasing funds is not enough.
Legal immigration channels indispensable
Deterrence and repatriation are not the ideal solution, writes the Kleine Zeitung:
“The European Union's unity on the issue of migration has been crumbling for years. The EU migration pact, negotiations for which have dragged on for almost as long, seemed to recede into the distance after every debate between member states. ... It is undisputed that the EU needs a common policy on migration. This is the only way to pull the rug out from under the smugglers' feet in the long term. But that policy can't just consist of measures to keep people out of Fortress Europe. It must also include those that make immigration possible via regulated, legal channels and render risky crossings in rickety boats obsolete. As long as this is not achieved, the boats will continue to come.”
Geneva Refugee Convention needs an update
Border protection is vital, but so are refugee laws based on today's realities, the Tages-Anzeiger stresses:
“Those who reject Frontex leave migration to the smugglers and gangs. Poverty-driven migration is a global tragedy. It requires empathy, but also clear controls. That is why Frontex is indispensable! ... Refugee law today [by contrast] is systematically undermined, disregarded or even deliberately violated by all states. The Geneva Refugee Convention of 1951 is shaped by the experiences of the Holocaust and the Second World War. Who will expand (not: replace) the Refugee Convention? Switzerland is the depositary state of the Geneva Convention. When called upon, it would have the right and the task to initiate reality-based amendments and additional conventions. But no one is shouldering this responsibility.”