Migration Crisis: The EU’s Shipwrecked Refugee Plan

Published on Spiegel Online International, by Ullrich Fichtner, Maximilian Popp, Christoph Schult and Alexander Smoltczyk, June 23, 2015 (Photo GalleryTranslated from the German by Christopher Sultan).

When 800 refugees drowned on their way to Europe this April, leaders promised to act. Just over two months later, the EU’s attempts at real reform have all but failed – and thrown up some dark moral questions.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, April 19, 2015, a 20-meter fishing boat, overloaded with people, capsized about 70 nautical miles off the Libyan coast and 180 kilometers (107 miles) from Europe. In the hours and days after the accident, this boat seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. This shipwreck, with an estimated 800 dead, had seemingly brought a sense of humanity back to Europe. The accident became a test for Brussels and, for the eight weeks that followed, Europeans took a critical look at the purpose of their 28-country union … //

… The True Heart of Brussels:

  • For many Europeans today, Brussels is a faraway, unpopular capital, a center of political cynicism. But no other European city has such a large concentration of well-educated, committed people, and no other world city is home to a comparably bold political experiment as its attempt to create a union out of once deeply hostile national states. This fundamental quality is quickly lost in the city’s daily routine … //

… Pushback Against Quotas:

  • Under the Commission proposal, the quotas was to be be calculated based on criteria like population, economic strength, the number of refugees already accepted and even unemployment. Depending on the quota, 15.43 to 18.42 percent of the refugees were to be allocated to Germany, with the first batch consisting of more than 10,000 people. Countries like Latvia and Croatia. however, were to see only a few hundred refugees … //

… Poorly Concealed Racism:

  • The number of detailed issues brought up by the 28 countries — with their 28 governments and 28 individual histories — soon multiplied. The allocation formula proposed by the Commission was questioned and portrayed as unfair. Small countries like Lithuania argued that they would be required to accept a larger number of boat people in proportion to their population as much larger countries like Poland. Sweden, Germany, Austria, Cyprus, Malta, Finland, Portugal and the Netherlands appealed, more or less vociferously, to the spirit of solidarity, repeatedly expressing their “surprise” over objections. Sometimes 10 ambassadors were saying precisely the same thing … //

… Clarity Take Precedence over Details:

  • The Justus Lipsius Council building, named after a Flemish humanist, is an impressive Brussels landmark. Here, the large wall of EU buildings juts up against a large roundabout named after the French statesman Robert Schuman. On May 18, five days after the publication of the Commission’s draft of its refugee agenda, the EU foreign and defense ministers convened in the building, where they sat in two concentric circles … //

… A Continent Shut Off from the World:

  • Anyone who is troubled by the images and news stories of people drowning in the Mediterranean should realize that they are the consequence of prevailing policy in Europe. Safe, legal paths to Europe no longer exist for migrants and refugees … //

… The EU Betrays Its Values:

  • The discussion about outsourced detention centers for migrants in North Africa, which is being portrayed as a new solution, and the gesture of deploying warships against traffickers in the Mediterranean – these things have been around for a long time. “We have had the same debates in asylum policy for decades,” says Stefan Keßler, who has worked in the field of migration for the last 30 years. He represents another group of players on the Brussels stage: NGOs, or non-governmental organizations. Since 2009, Keßler has worked as a lobbyist for the Jesuit refugee service in Brussels … //

… Who Needs Europe?

  • These are all educated, experienced people who may, in these days and weeks, be asking themselves the unsettling question of whether they, the EU, even know what its purpose is. The dead in the Mediterranean, and Europe’s treatment of the plight of refugees and the displaced, could serve as evidence of the moral failure of the community of nations. Who needs Europe? And what for? … //

… A Sideways Step:

  • But the governments should not ignore the Commission. Last Wednesday, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was sitting at the large conference table in his office, on the 13th floor of the Berlaymont Building. He was visibly furious as he voiced his contempt for the skeptics in the European Council. “It isn’t enough to sit in front of your TV screen at night and weep because people are drowning in the Mediterranean, and then to hold a minute of silence in the Council the next morning,” he said. Juncker, whose speech is normally filled with irony and humor, was noticeably serious … //

… (full long long text).


France – Calais chaos: Strike shuts down French port, migrants target UK-bound lorries (VIDEOS), on Russia Today RT, June 23, 2015;

France arrests 100 British migrant smugglers in Calais, on Russia Today RT, June 23, 2015;


Zeitreise: Die Welt vor 1000 Jahren – Doku Geschichte, 43.21 min, von Alles Doku am 25. Dez 2014 hochgeladen.

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