Public Affairs Networking
03/08 – EU is called to take action on Calais’ migrants issue

European media continue to widely report about the current migration crisis in Calais which is raising concerns on both sides of the Channel. The INYT, Expansion, De Telegraaf and Le Figaro – among others – say that London and Paris want to show a united front on this case. Their respective Home Secretaries, Theresa May and Bernard Cazeneuve, contributed a jointly penned op-ed to Le Journal de Dimanche yesterday, in which they reiterated that the situation is “an absolute priority.”

The two governments are “determined to get through this and to get through it together,” adds Le Figaro. According to the two ministers, France and Britain cannot be the only ones on the front line easing migration pressure. They therefore call for a European, or even international, general mobilisation. Tg La 7 says that British Prime Minister David Cameron was accused of taking advantage of the migrant crisis for political purposes. The situation at the Calais border is worsening relations between France and the UK. Greece’s Skai reports that Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos made an intervention regarding the demonstrations against migration in London and the attempt of over 200 migrants to enter the Channel Tunnel in Calais. This is one more example that proves the need for solidarity and responsibility in the way Europe is managing the migration issue, he stresses.

Media outlets provide comments on the current crisis, alternately blaming France, the UK and the EU. France 2 features the reaction of Xavier Bertrand, candidate to the presidency of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy region, denouncing the “significant responsibility “of the English. “It is up to them to change the rules on the employment of migrants,” he said, pointing out that France performs the border control work for the English in their place. The Times reports on Swedish Migration Minister Morgan Johansson’s point of view, blaming Britain and France for creating the chaos in Calais by failing to take in more asylum seekers. He describes the situation as proof of “a system that is breaking down” and considers that British PM David Cameron and his government “could do a lot more than the UK is doing” to respond to the situation.

In an interview granted to France Inter, activist Rokhaya Diallo believes that the declaration of the French and English Interior Ministers that “any sustainable response to migration pressure” would be based on “reducing the number of people leaving Africa to reach Europe for economic reasons” totally ignores the reality of three million Syrian refugees. She considers the ministers’ speech in contradiction with the economic needs and the demographic reality of Europe.

Matthias Thibaut notes in a Handelsblatt article that the crisis in Calais has become a “symbol of our helplessness.” The images not only show brutality, but also the extent of despair. In his opinion, both sides are right, i.e. the refugees for wanting open borders and Britain for wanting to keep the upper hand. An INYT’s editorial describes the migrants stuck in the French town as victims of Europe’s failed policies on migration. It argues that until the EU faces up to its responsibility to deal humanely with migrants, more people will die.

The Daily Express’s editorial dismisses the notion that mass migration is a global crisis, but “entirely of the EU’s own making” because of its open-borders policy. It also argues that the only solution for Britain is to leave the EU at the first opportunity. “The attempts of the migratory policy reveal the internal contradictions of the EU member states,” writes Le Soir‘s Jurek Kuczkiewicz. In a QN’s commentary, Gabriele Cané highlights that France and the UK realise that “Europe does exist,” with regard to the migrants’ attempt to across the Channel tunnel.

Along the same lines, Chairman of the CSU and Bavarian Minister-President Horst Seehofer stresses – in an interview with ARD – that the EU and the European Commission’s reaction to the refugee crisis has been a “fiasco.” Speaking of the migrant quotas idea, Mr Seehofer also criticises Berlin’s “don’t-worry-attitude,” noting that the crisis situation has been ignored for too long and a “creative relief” is needed.

Deputy European Parliament Speaker Antonio Tajani argues in an interview with Il Giornale that the migrant crisis is a global problem that must be tackled through the EU and the UN. Stopping migrants before they leave from Libya and creating holding centres for refugees in the area is the right solution, he underlines. A few British media also draw a link between the current crisis and the UK’s upcoming referendum on Europe. The Telegraph’s Charles Moore and The Guardian’s Matthew d’Ancona stress that the longer the situation in Calais continues, the more it will become a benchmark issue for the ‘Out’ campaign in the EU referendum. A Sunday Telegraph editorial warns Cameron that the situation will only fuel Euroscepticism. It adds that the EU needs to discourage people from making such dangerous journeys in the first place and crack down further on trafficking gangs.

In other migration news, the Belgian, Romanian, Polish and Hungarian press – among others – report on the latest Eurobarometer poll, which shows that immigration ranked as the top concern in twenty European countries, reaching the highest levels in Malta (65%) and Germany (55%). According to the results, 38% of European citizens see migration as the EU’s biggest problem, followed by the economic situation (27%) and unemployment (24%). 51% of them are supportive of intra-EU migration while 56% of respondents consider extra-EU migration as an “inconvenient phenomenon.” 73% of respondents want the creation of a common migration policy, notes Napi Gazdasag. Meanwhile, in a Deutschlandfunk programme, Federal Commissioner for Immigration, Refugees and Integration Aydan Özoğuz (SPD) underlines that the EU is in need of a revision of Dublin III to create a legal foundation for a quota regulation with minimum standards.


No comments yet
Submit a comment

Policy and networking for the digital age
Policy Review TV Neil Stewart Associates
© Policy Review | Policy and networking for the digital age 2024 | Log-in | Proudly powered by WordPress
Policy Review EU is part of the NSA & Policy Review Publishing Network