The refugee problem won’t go away. No matter how hard populists try to put up walls and seal off borders, they keep on coming. The surge is understandable after nearly two decades of non-stop war in the Middle East and West Asia. It seems half the world is looking for a new home.
Despite its increasing prominence, Europe’s far-right still doesn’t have the last word on the crisis. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is going into a federal election year refusing to impose a limit on asylum seekers. Her newly announced challenger, the SPD’s Martin Schulz, isn’t opposed to her on this score, either.
Indeed, it appears as though the German political echelon’s consensus on the refugee crisis remains ‘Refugees Welcome’, albeit with some new caveats.
If, as is assumed, Schulz ends up serving as Merkel’s foreign minister in a new grand coalition, the two will end up anchoring the EU’s left flank on asylum policy, much to the chagrin of Donald Trump and French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.
But, not everything un-populist should be considered exclusively German. Leave it to EurActiv Czech Republic to provide examples of stereotypically prejudiced Central Europeans working hard to accommodate Muslim refugees.
The Italians fill out the policy picture. In an in-depth interview with EurActiv Slovakia, Monti group advisor Dr. Giacomo Benedetto discusses a number of helpful ideas for strengthening Europe’s external borders and making it more attractive for hostile member states to effectively share out asylum seekers.
A mechanism to deal with the crisis could not come too quickly. Not just in reference to the war in Syria but also in Europe. Should the EU’s mediation efforts in the former Yugoslavia prove unsuccessful, it’s not unreasonable to imagine refugees banging on the door from the inside, again.
Just ask Merkel, who, in an effort to limit asylum requests from the Western Balkans, declared Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro “safe” countries of origin in September 2015, as hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Iraqis entered Germany.
The Inside Track
From Syria to an integration centre and finally to a new home in Prague – that’s what the story of a refugee may look like. But life for Arabs in the Central European country also has its dark sides. EurActiv Czech Republic reports.
The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo agreed to continue talking at a Brussels meeting hosted by Federica Mogherini. The EU foreign policy chief said normalising their relations was vital. But, as EurActiv Serbia reports, her guests only succeeded in alienating each other.
Martin Schulz is known in Germany mainly as a European politician and a Merkel ally. But, later this year, they’ll compete for the Bundesrepublik’s top job. EurActiv’s partner Der Tagesspiegel reports.
Greek politicians reacted strongly to a video showing the new President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, calling the ex-Yugoslav Republic “Macedonia.” The outrage is understandable, says EurActiv Greece.
The Commission has released its latest report on Romania’s progress under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, which puts its judicial system under surveillance for corruption. The executive is encouraged, writes EurActiv Romania.
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi said she had been summoned for questioning by anti-corruption prosecutors. Last month, Raggi’s Five Star Movement (M5S) stripped her of the power to make “important decisions”. Once considered a potential party leader, Raggi’s days are numbered. The Local.it reports.
An ALDE MEP accused Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont of using “lies” and “propaganda” to organise a conference held at the European Parliament on the planned independence referendum. EurActiv Spain reports.
Could an Irish referendum block Britain’s withdrawal from the EU? With the clock counting down to the commencement of the two-year Brexit process, according to the IrishTimes, the project could be derailed.
As the presidential election gets closer, EurActiv France notes that NGOs have asked the candidates to put development policies at the heart of their foreign policy proposals.