The fire in the Moria slum reignited the dispute over the reception of refugees in Europe. No wonder. But there is one principle that Europeans should not betray. | A column by Gerhard Spörl.
At the beginning of August, Armin Laschet visited the Moria camp. Afterwards he said many right things: the refugees lived in a “situation without prospects”, he spoke of an “indignation of the desperate”, he said that Europe should not leave the Greek government alone and the fact that the EU presidency is currently in Germany lies, offering hope for “a permanent solution” for the refugees.
When Laschet talked about his stay in Moria, he received little more than polite attention. Moria was far away, Moria was uninteresting. That suddenly changed four weeks later.
Suddenly, Europe remembers
In October 2015, a refugee reception center was built on a former military installation on Lesvos, which quickly grew into the largest European refugee camp. Migrants set up tents and makeshift housing around the actual camp. Fights and knife fights between migrants from different countries are not uncommon.
14,000 people live in a small space under appalling conditions. They don’t know how it will go on, what will become of them, a day is like any other, with no prospect of change, everyone is next to themselves, helplessness and anger and anger and violence are part of everyday life. Understandably, they came up with (or were raised) the idea of setting their camp up in flames so that Europe would remember them.
Europe now remembers. Europe must take care of Moria. As sensible as possible. As carefully as possible. That is the hardest of all because there are so many interests against it.
At the end of September, the European Union will discuss refugees on the Greek islands. Nothing works without Germany, Armin Laschet is right. More is possible with Germany, but not much either. Binding rules for the distribution of refugees would be real progress, but at most ten of the 27 states could agree. The influence of Germany is not particularly great in this case.
The EU has been drifting apart since 2015 at the latest
One of today’s unpleasant insights is that Europe is only a community of values to a limited extent. It is essentially an economic and monetary union, that is, an alliance of interests. Interests can separate as well as connect them. The EU has been drifting apart since 2015 at the latest. When dealing with the refugees there is no question of overcoming the contradictions, not even between Germany and Austria.
Gerald Knaus is one of the brightest people dealing with migration and its consequences. He is Austrian, founded the think tank “European Stability Initiative”, lived in Ukraine, Bosnia and Kosovo. An experienced man, strong judgment and astute. He says Angela Merkel “saved the honor and soul of Europe” five years ago, but at a cost, the rise of right-wing populist parties in Europe, especially in the East – Europe’s enemies. They are especially radical where there are only a hundred refugees, for example in Hungary.
Europe must renegotiate with Erdogan
Knaus is anything but romantic. The billions against the closed borders between the EU and Turkey on March 18, 2016 go back to him. Today he proposes an extension of the agreement to end the humanitarian crisis in the Greek islands.
Whether it likes it or not, the European Union must renegotiate with Turkey. President Erdogan has already opened the borders so that Europe does not forget who is at stake here, and he must always be trusted to find a new reason for blackmail, such as putting Greece in trouble with which he is in conflict. on the exploitation of gas resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is only a matter of time before he will send thousands of refugees again. What is reliable about him is absolute unpredictability.
New accommodations are now being built on Moria. And last but not least. That changes little in terms of human misery. Presumably after some hesitation, some willing EU countries will be found that will take in a large proportion of the 12,000 people. And last but not least.
Gerald Knaus says there is no right to migration, it is not, but there is respect for the humanitarian principle of not endangering people. Europe must agree on this.