19 October 2016
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An extensive overview of the evolution and development of the European response to the refugee crisis over the last two years. Amongst the author's interviewees is European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who considers Member States' disregard for their commitments to "relocating" refugees from Italy and Greece to be "morally wrong". Meanwhile the Dutch permanent representative to the Council of the EU is keen to note that there is "a grip on the flow" but the "worry now is slippage" - that is, people leaving the squalid camps of Greece and travelling elsewhere in the continent.
The author concludes:
"Europe is bound to become less white, less Christian, and less homogeneous. Americans know that a pluralistic society can send fresh blood coursing through a nation’s veins; but even many Americans are turning against immigrants and refugees. It’s all too easy to cater to those fears, as political leaders in the United Kingdom discovered during the Brexit debate. It’s so much harder to say, as Merkel did, that honoring the obligation to accept refugees will “occupy and change” a country in the years to come. Political leaders must find a language that will acknowledge citizens’ legitimate fears without exploiting them. If they fail, Europe could fall into the hands of leaders who stir up primeval passions once thought extinct. We may be a few generations removed, but the carnage of that hatred and fear still smolders. It’s not just the EU’s arcane rules that are at stake, or even the EU’s capacity for collective action. It is the very idea of Europe."
See: Europe Wishes to Inform You that the Refugee Crisis Is Over (Foreign Policy, link)
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