In Germany, the situation after the arson in the Greek refugee camp Moria has been the main public problem for days. TV channels bring special programs. Municipalities and states are prepared to take in refugees from there.
Federal politicians from the Union to the SPD and Greens tend to be more cautious than the local and regional base of their party. A ‘European solution’ must be found, the 2015 national solo effort must not be repeated. The Green Katrin Göring-Eckardt uses the same formula as the Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU): “Humanity and order”. Like Annalena Baerbock, she shuns the call for a German solo effort when it comes to recordings with “Anne Will”.
But: is a European solution more likely today than in 2015? How are other EU countries dealing with the situation in Moria? How important is the emergency situation in the news, how great is the receptivity?
Austria and Sweden are not on Berlin’s side
Sweden and Austria initially supported Angela Merkel in 2015. 2020 no more. “Sweden is busy with itself”, says Lotta Lundberg, correspondent for “Svenska Dagbladet”. The main topics are Corona and clan crime, but also Trump and Brexit abroad.
In 2015, Sweden took in the most refugees per capita. Their integration is considered a failure, as is the whole of European refugee policy. “We can’t”, is the vote. Sweden would probably participate in a European solution under pressure. If the Germans, Norwegians and Danes participate, the Swedes would be ashamed not to.
In Sweden, acceptance and integration are considered failed. Migrants on a Swedish highway in 2015 Photo: REUTERS
In Austria, Moria is one of the three main subjects, says Ewald König, head of the Berlin Correspondents Office. But because of the domestic political consequences. Accept it or not, is the problem in the turquoise-green coalition under Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP). The Greens were afraid to ask the coalition question because they were bringing the populist FPÖ back into play.
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In terms of population, Austria has also received more refugees than Germany since 2015. Distinguish yourself for a moment with a dual message of humanity and toughness. He sends tents with heating and hygiene facilities, doctors and paramedics to Moria. And at the same time warns against the admission of all refugees from there to other EU countries. Because that would be a signal that one only needs to torch camps to force admission.
France wants to help, Italy sees itself as a victim
Moria is an excellent subject for France, but it is not discussed as intensely and emotionally as in Germany, says Pascal Thibaut, correspondent for Radio France Internationale. There is no comparable movement of municipalities willing to participate. But President Emmanuel Macron wants to organize a “coalition of the willing” with Merkel.
Italy says: We’ve already taken more than enough. Photo: Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP
In Italy, Moria is one of the top ten subjects, says Tonia Mastrobuoni of the newspaper “Repubblica”, but not one of the top three. These are the constitutional referendum, the next elections and the situation in schools. Italy does not see itself as an obligation, it has already taken in more than enough refugees. Like Greece, it sees itself as a victim of the lack of a European migration policy. German and French impulses are seen as useful. Forming a coalition of the willing is not a permanent solution.
Foreclosure is the trend in Denmark and the Netherlands
Denmark and the Netherlands have been pursuing a more restrictive migration policy than Germany for years. Moria is an important international issue, but “not a front page”, says Uffe Dreesen, Berlin correspondent for “TV 2 Danmark”. Refugees are seen more as a problem than a task to be solved. There is no broad movement demanding their inclusion. The country would rather remain silent on the matter than ask politicians for their opinion. “Denmark is not in the mood for a European solution.”
In the Netherlands, isolation is the goal of the ruling conservatives. Conflicts that arose from the colonial past, such as the ‘Zwarte Piet’ and the question whether the royal family could use the golden carriage, for example when driving to the opening of the parliamentary year, got more into the media than with Moria, explains Rob Savelberg. van der De Telegraaf.
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The green mayor of Amsterdam and the mayor of Morocco of Rotterdam urged the acceptance of refugees. The compromise: The Netherlands is ready to take in 500 minors and 500 other refugees. On one condition: you will not be added, but will be counted towards the contingent that the land was ready for before the fire.
The new EU countries in the east do not accept this
In Poland, you can watch the news for hours without hearing a word about Moria. In the Czech Republic, the state of emergency is only a marginal problem, says Pavel Polak of the daily newspaper “Denik N”. The fire has been reported, but not what should happen to those affected. The general attitude, also among the co-ruling Social Democrats, is: we will not accept it.
The mood is similar in other EU countries east of Germany: Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. It is of course also an open question who wants to be admitted at all.