The European Union has time. A lot of time. Endless time. But it tries hard and as swift as it can be possible for its operational mode to solve important issues, like the Refugees’ Crisis. On Wednesday, the EU leaders met in Brussels to take important decisions on how to solve the problem. Among others, they decided something very essential for the refugees’ well being like food. Because by all quotas- and relocation-efforts, the EU has still to approve funds to feed the refugees either directly or through the World Food Program. Then the EU leaders urge – in fact themselves – to assist the countries of the South in dealing with the refugees or third countries, like Turkey.
All on all first important steps have been taken. The European Commission statement on the informal meeting of September 23rd reads:
“We ask the EU institutions and our Governments to work speedily on the Priority Actions proposed by the Commission. We want operational decisions on the most pressing issues before the October European Council, along the following orientations:
- respond to the urgent needs of refugees in the region by helping the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Programme and other agencies with at least an additional 1 billion euro;
- assist Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and other countries in dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis, including through a substantial increase of the EU’s Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis (“Madad Fund”);
- reinforce the dialogue with Turkey at all levels, including at the upcoming visit of the Turkish President (5 October), in order to strengthen our cooperation on stemming and managing the migratory flows;
- assist the Western Balkan countries in handling the refugee flows, including through pre-accession instruments, as well as ensure a speedy and solid preparation of the Western Balkans route conference (8 October);
- increase the funding of the Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa through additional contributions by Member States, and ensure an optimal preparation of the Valletta Summit (11-12 November) to achieve maximum progress;
- tackle the dramatic situation at our external borders and strengthen controls at those borders, including through additional resources for Frontex, EASO and Europol, and with personnel and equipment from Member States;
- meet requests from front-line Member States for assistance by the institutions, the agencies and other Member States in order to ensure identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants (hotspots) and at the same time ensure relocation and returns, at the latest by November 2015;
- enhance the funding of the Emergency Fund for Asylum, Integration and Migration and the Internal Security Fund-Borders.
As regards Syria, we call for a renewed UN-led international effort to bring an end to the war that has caused so much suffering and forced an estimated 12 million people to leave their homes; the EU commits to doing its part in this respect, as well as for the formation of a government of national unity in Libya.” (full statement here)
Nicely said and decided. When all these urgent calls will be materialize?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German Parliament this morning that “hot spots” for refugees’ registration will be created in Greece and Italy by late November as well as possibly in Bulgaria.” Merkel stressed that “first step” has been made in refugees’ crisis.
This morning I heard on Greek television network (STAR TV) that “the refugees’ registration is been done manually” and when the refugees move further to Europe they seem to be unregistered. Why is that? “Because the Greek system used for the registration is not compatible with the EU system and this is because the EU has not provided Greece with the appropriate scanners yet.” I suppose the same happens with the refugees’ registration in Italy.
This does not hinder pseudo-European leader like Hungary’s PM Orban to claim that “Greece cannot defend its borders” suggesting that it should allow others to do so.
“If the Greek are not able to defend their own borders, we should ask kindly, because Greece is a sovereign country, let the other countries of the EU defend the Greek border.”
It is highly possible that Orban wants to deploy this army to Greece – I wonder if Hungary has a navy… – and shoot at the refugees as they come close to the EU.
Fact is that no matter how hard the EU tries, the same EU cannot convince its own EU members to a) move in quick step and b) agree on civilized solutions.
If the EU needed 5 months to take a First Step, I suppose it will need another 5 to make a Second Step. Until the EU has moved 50 cm forwards, Syria will be empty of people with many of them lost in EU bureaucracy and the cold Aegean waters.