Refugee crisis update: Commission is struggling alone with little help from EU or G7 leaders

Visit of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EC to Czech Republic
Date: 08/06/2017. Location: Prague, Czech Republic. © European Union. Source: EC – Audiovisual Service

The European Commission has been fighting the migration crisis urging the EU countries for their support to tackle this long-lasting issue but no or little contribution is provided. Last Thursday, the president of the EC prompted the Czech Republic to change its decision regarding their denial on accepting asylum seekers from Greece and Italy under the EU quotas scheme.

Furthermore, Commission provided an extra 58.21 million euros in emergency funding in order to support Italy under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). As far as the refugees’ education is concerned, the EC started its first payments to the refugees’ families through EU’s largest humanitarian education in emergencies programme.

It is crucial to maintain control of the refugee flows in the Mediterranean and also to keep the EU-Turkey deal alive ameliorating the migration crisis in the EU. Unfortunately Italy’s attempt to host the G7 summit in Taormina in order to receive support from the global community in the refugee crisis was not successful at all.

EU quotas schemes doomed to fail

The attempt of the EU’s executive to urge the EU member states to contribute in the relocation and resettlement schemes of 98.255 people from Greece and Italy is falling short. Countries like Hungary, Poland and Austria and Czech Republic are not accepting asylum seekers showing that EU unity is missing. The Czech government has only received 12 out of its quota of 2.691 people and it is high unlikely to accept more migrants as the majority of the electorate decided to suspend the programme.

Jean-Claude Juncker expressed his dissatisfaction last week about the decision of Czech Republic not to accept refugees coming from Greece and Italy. More specifically, the president of the EC mentioned: “I was very displeased to read in the press that the Czech government is considering to halt relocations entirely. I sincerely hope that, as in so many other cases, European reason, spirit and values will prevail and that the Czech government will reconsider its course so that we do not have to resort to legal infringement procedures, (which) we will do if nothing changes.”

Commission supports Italy

The EC has funded Italy with 58.21 million euros in order to provide the necessary assistance to the Italian Ministry of Interior to improve the living conditions of the asylum seekers who reach the northern Italy. This support is meant to be given for accommodation, food, healthcare, legal information services and linguistic and cultural mediation in 300 reception centers. Thus, Commission’s financial aid reached the amount of 147.63 million euros in emergency funding to Italy which is revealing that the EU executive body is determined to fight against migration crisis in the Mediterranean even with the inadequate support of the EU countries.

G7 summit unable to limit migration

The leaders of the seven most powerful nations gathered in Italy on May 27 and met also with African leaders in order to discuss about migration among other issues. The Italian Prime Minister‘s intention was to persuade the other leaders to support the African countries with more investments. The latter would slow down the flows of refugees who are facing war and poverty conditions in their home countries and their only hope is fleeing to Italy.

However, the G7 leaders did not manage to agree on the migration issue and Italy is left helpless to deal with the endless flows of migrants reaching its shores. What is more, Oxfam International, an international confederation of charitable organizations focused on the alleviation of global poverty, commented on the lack of action by the G7 nations: “Consensus crumbles at the expense of the world’s poorest people.”

Migration crisis persists

Brexit negotiations have monopolised the interest of the EU leaders and officials leaving refugee crisis plaguing Greece and Italy. Even if the situation has improved in Greece due to the EU-Turkey agreement, Italy has so far 50.400 new arrivals showing that migration crisis is persisting as no substantial aid is provided by the rest EU countries.

All in all, Commission is struggling to control the migration crisis into sustainable levels through financial aid but without the will of each and every EU member state it will not be enough to deal with this issue. It seems that there is little EU solidarity in tackling the root causes and the consequences of refugee crisis. Therefore, it is imperative for the Commission to start taking drastic measures if at its next report there are EU countries with no progress in meeting their obligations regarding relocation figures.

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  1. Fascinating that this photo is from the future (8/6/2017)

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