Public Affairs Networking
26/08 – More coverage of the migration crisis

Yesterday, Germany, which expects to take a staggering 800,000 migrants this year, decided to suspend the Dublin protocol, which forces refugees to seek asylum in the first European country in which they set foot, and to ease asylum rules for Syrians. The decision came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande held talks in Berlin on Monday to try to come up with solutions to the crisis.

Several media report that Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said Germany’s move was “recognition of the fact that we cannot leave member states at the external borders alone in dealing with a large number of asylum seekers seeking refuge in Europe.” According to, Natasha Bertaud also noted that the Commission is planning to propose an exception to the relevant regulations in the form of a permanent relocation mechanism, which will be activated by member states during crises. According to Ta Nea, she also announced the opening of “hotspots” in Italy and Greece before 2016. By taking this decision, Germany became the first European country to suspend the Dublin Regulations, Efimerida ton Sintakton notes. But a Daily Telegraph editorial suggests that Germany’s decision to suspend the Dublin convention “must inevitably encourage more refugees” to attempt to reach Europe.

Some newspapers continue to comment on the opinion article written by EC President Jean-Claude Juncker, published in Le Figaro and Die Welt on Monday, and in Kathimerini, Luxemburger Wort, Postimees and Lietuvos Rytas today, accusing most EU governments of political cowardice. Meanwhile, in an interview with, European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos declares that a renegotiation of the Schengen agreements, deemed no longer appropriate, is “out of the question” as “it is one of Europe’s most tangible achievements.” He also added that the Commission is preparing a new package on labour mobility in order to attract more highly skilled workers, and plans to collaborate with the migrants’ countries of origin.

Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos defended the Commission’s actions to Le Monde on Monday, saying that most EU citizens consider the European approach to be the only way to move ahead on the issue. In a statement to the BBC, Dimitris Avramopoulos stressed that the Commission has decided to declare war on the smugglers. Kathimerini reports that Greek President Prokópis Pavlópoulos urged Europe to organise an extraordinary European Council, which according to him, could provide the best solutions to the crisis.

In the meantime, according to a statement by the Hungarian police, a total of 2,093 refugees entered the country from Serbia in one day, Alithia and report. Several media report that Brussels offered yesterday to give “migrant hotspot” status to Hungary, meaning extra resources to deal with the crisis at its border. It nevertheless warned again the country against the building of a fence to prevent refugees from entering the country.

Some articles continue to comment on the seriousness of the crisis and Europe’s lack of solidarity. Interviewed on France Info, Amnesty International spokesperson Louise Kar said it is “unacceptable” that migrants go from one country to another without being able to apply for asylum. “We want more legal ways to enter Europe, so that these people don’t get in harm’s way. We call on the European Union to help border countries by giving them resources to welcome these people,” she said.

In a commentary in Libero, Davide Giacalone argues that the EU must implement a common administrative structure to deal with the migration crisis, claiming that Europe as a whole must take action, and not only some EU countries such as France and Germany. In an interview with Europe 1, European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans also agreed that “we really need collective action at a European level” to deal with migration.

Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Paolo Gentiloni comments in Corriere della Sera that the EU should set up common rules on the right to asylum, create legal immigration channels, and implement a fair distribution of migrants across all EU countries. A Times editorial argues that the current Franco-German plan, decided on Monday, would do little to reduce the number of migrants attempting to reach Europe, nor do much to share the burden across the EU, as migrants will naturally gravitate towards the continent’s strongest economies.




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