Europe: new wave of solidarity with refugees?
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing the Russian invasion of their country and heading westwards - mainly to neighbouring states where many Ukrainians already live, but also beyond. Commentators call for as much help and support as possible for these people, but also focus on the challenges this brings.
Seize opportunity for new cohesion
Warsaw should not be accused of double standards because Poland of all countries is taking in the most refugees from Ukraine, writes the Süddeutsche Zeitung:
“Of course it's easier for the Poles to show solidarity with their neighbours from Ukraine than with people from the Middle East or Africa. The other Europeans, including the Germans, should recognise this and use it to find common ground. At the council of EU interior ministers, generous help was offered to the Poles and the other affected states. One can only hope that the Polish government will accept this offer. Taking in and distributing refugees as a common cause is not only a moral imperative for humanity, it would also send a signal to warlord Putin.”
Taking in people sends a strong message
All EU countries must now be willing to take in refugees, Sydsvenskan urges:
“One of Vladimir Putin's main intentions is to shatter Europe's cohesion. The EU has struggled to reach a comprehensive settlement on migration. Putin is now only too happy to use this sensitive issue to drive wedges between the countries of the Union by causing a flow of refugees into the EU. The threat of migration has been used by despots in the past. Consequently, the EU must stand by the Ukrainians not only with words, but also with deeds of solidarity. All EU countries must participate and take in Ukrainians in need of refuge. In this way the EU can demonstrate the superiority of soft power. And so can Sweden. We can do it.”
Budapest suddenly wanting to help refugees?
The anti-migration narrative cultivated for many years under Viktor Orbán has hindered the willingness to accept refugees in Hungary, Magyar Hang laments:
“Now a government that has been making a sport out of trampling on minorities, the needy and those who help them for the last 12 years is calling on society to show compassion and help ethnic Hungarians driven out of the [Ukrainian] Carpathian foothills. ... We are living through historic times that will show how strong and compassionate we Hungarians really are.”