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Migrant flow to Europe this year tops 1 million

Many of today’s European media outlets continue to provide a wide coverage of the migration crisis, mainly reporting that the number of migrants and refugees that have arrived in Europe has reached the one million mark in 2015, according to the latest International Organisation for Migration (IMO) data released yesterday.

Four times higher than in 2014, this is the largest migration of peoples since WWII, note, for instance, the FT. Libération, El Pais, Il Sole 24 Ore and Avghi, among others, note that most of the refugees arrived by sea and on the Greek shores, with 3692 dying at sea. The Daily Telegraph quotes IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, calling on European governments to do more to open controlled migration routes.

“Migration must be legal, safe and secure for all – both for the migrants themselves and the countries that will become their home,” Mr Swing underlined. In an interview with NPR, he is pleased that many European countries are placing saving lives as their highest priority. Critical commentaries about Brussels’s migration policy are released.

Quoted in Libération, former Commissioner Emma Bonino stressed that “the lack of a coordinated response has turned a manageable issue into a serious political crisis – which might destroy the EU,” while Socialist MEP Sylvie Guillaume denounced an “every-man-for-himself attitude” among the EU member states. Concordantly, Libération’s Michel Henry considers that Europe is a victim of its own incapacity to define a common immigration policy.

Regarding the criticism that the EC’s plans could endanger the EU member states’ sovereignty, Fabrice Leggeri says that sovereignty wouldn’t be worth much if a country is uncontrollably overrun by refugees, reports Die Welt. He also considers that if a EU member state refused Frontex’ support, the EC could implement drastic measures. Europe´s refugee crisis is the most serious challenge the EU has yet faced, suggests Professor Lars Calmfors, in an opinion piece for Dagens Nyheter.

According to him, it also exposes a paradox, namely the greater the need for common decisions, the stronger the forces that pull countries towards attempting to solve problems on their own. In a pessimistic tone, João Carlos Barradas argues in Jornal de Negócios that the migration crisis will get worse next spring as new waves of migrants and people fleeing war again force the feeble borders of an EU disoriented by weak governments, helpless before national, religious and racist radicalisms.

In a more nuanced opinion, former Commissioner Kallas acknowledges in an interview with Estonia’s Maaleht that the refugee crisis has been a very messy one with a lot of confusion about how it should be handled but considers, however, that proposing a joint European border guard force is a big thing. Attention is also paid on the migration situation in several EU member states, such as Hungary and Germany.

In Italy, Under Secretary for EU Affairs Sandro Gozi stressed the country’s “irritation” over the EC’s infringement procedure against Italy for failing to identify migrants and refugees, as says La Stampa. In related news, Avghi says that the UNHCR completed the first stage of the selection of the organisations with which it will cooperate for the creation of 20,000 reception positions for refugees.

The EC-financed program provides for the creation of reception positions under the form of apartment and hotel rentals. Meanwhile, another INYT item reports that Turkey is reportedly intensifying its border security measures after criticism that it was turning a blind eye to critical border areas used by refugees and potential foreign fighters heading to or from Syria.



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