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05/08 -Calais migrant crisis still at the centre of Europe’s attention

Calais migrant crisis still at the centre of Europe’s Media outlet’s attention – especially in France and the UK – continues to be focused on the ongoing migrant issue. “London shows firmness while Paris calls for a global solution,” says Le Monde, quoting British Immigration Minister James Brokenshire who underlined that the UK no longer wants to be “the land of milk and honey.”

The Daily Express mentions that French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve’s has called on Britain to do more to assist France’s efforts in dealing with the crisis. “It is completely unrealistic to think we are going to resolve a humanitarian tragedy which causes disorder all over the world with security measures. While security is necessary, it is not enough. The solution has to be global. We also have to work with the countries of origin, notably Niger,” stressed Mr Cazeneuve.

The Daily Mail reports on the European Commission’s offer to provide France with EU border officials in order to deal with the growing number of migrants who have descended on the port of Calais. Commissioner Avramopoulos met last night with UK Home Secretary Theresa May and Minister Cazeneuve to discuss the EU’s intervention in the crisis. Corriere della Sera notes that Britain sent dogs and militaries to Calais to help the French officers stop the growing number of immigrants who every day try to reach Britain looking for a better life. Moreover, David Cameron referred to the migrants’ influx as a “swarm”, overcoming any border of humanity.

The press continues to report criticism of both countries as well as the EU. Greece’s Real FM notes that Commissioner Avramopoulos have not taken over any initiatives yet regarding the migration issue. In a negative tone, the Greek radio wonders whether Dimitris Avramopoulos has been forgotten by everyone, whether he has no responsibilities or whether he is under-qualified for this position.

Most of the comments draw a parallel between the Calais crisis and Europe’s wider refugee crisis. An editorial in Helsingin Sanomat highlights that both France and the UK are collaborating but at the same time are arguing about responsibility for the problem.  Joint measures needs to be taken both inside and outside the EU, the Finnish opinion piece adds.  De Morgen’s Bart Eeckhout states it is hard not to be cynical when analysing the European reaction to the migration crisis. The British are a bunch of hypocrites in this drama. Actually, hypocrisy is the core concept of the current EU migration policy, he highlights.  “How much longer will we accept the migration issue to be based on lies, manipulation of fantasies and public opinion, instrumentalisation of fears, intellectual regression as well as on moral defeat,” wonders Maurice Ulrich in L’Humanité’s editorial.

If migrants are determined to cross the Channel by any means available, this proves that “France, the UK and Europe have failed,” he underlines, adding that the political choices are the things which are not working. The crisis in Calais primarily reflects the disarray of Europe faced with the impossibility of leaving the European project where it is, says Jacques Attali in his column for L’Express. The hypocrisy of the British, giving work to undocumented migrants to lower costs, is in this light as harmful to the European project as building walls at the borders as the Hungarians are doing. This is about a choice between real integration, with a harmonisation of various labor rights, or a decline, by cloistering ourselves in voluntary prisons, stresses Attali.

Along the same lines, a WSJE opinion piece says that “the common European response to the crisis has been haphazard at best … the EU has the right to secure borders and needs to invest far more in border protection, especially at sea. But an enforcement-only policy won’t work against hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants and wily traffickers.” In an editorial in The Daily Telegraph, Con Coughlin argues that the only comprehensive solution for the Calais crisis is to tackle the failed states from which these migrants have travelled, including Libya. The EU is facing big choices on the refugee issue, claims an unsigned editorial in Norrköpings Tidningar. The Dublin Treaty is a fiasco in practice. If the EU does not act, it will be attacked by populist parties for not responding to the situation, it adds.

Along the same lines, a commentator for Salzburger Nachrichten underlines that the refugee plight is becoming “Europe’s disgrace” and that Europe is proving to be a “continent without ideas.” An ORF2 programme says that it is becoming apparent that the Dublin system does not work, which is why the European Commission is trying to replace it with a quota system – but, so far, without success. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) director for Europe has now advocated the systematic deportation of economic refugees as these are jamming the system.

In other news, El Pais, among a few other dailies, reports that the death figures of illegal migrants in their attempt to reach Europe keep rising year after year. Since the beginning of this year, 2,000 people have died in Mediterranean sea. The International Organisation for Migration reminds us that those figures are only the tip of the iceberg, underlining that migrants are forced to use the most dangerous routs as land borders are totally sealed. – continues to be focused on the ongoing migrant issue.

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