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Main focus of Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Macedonia urged to protect EU external borders

Refugees on the Greek-Macedonian border. According to the UNHCR around 30,000 migrants have arrived in Greece so far in 2016. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

In view of the consistently high number of refugees who arrive in Europe via the Balkan route, EU politicians are calling on Macedonia to play a more active role in border control. At last effective border protection is becoming a reality, some commentators write in delight. Others find it absurd that a non-EU member is supposed to provide the solution to the refugee crisis.

Jutarnji list - Croatia

Greece is the main problem

The EU has failed completely in the refugee crisis and is becoming more and more absurd, the liberal daily Jutarnji list comments: "The biggest embarrassment is the miserable failed distribution of refugees among EU member states. The figure of 160,000 was agreed on but so far 300 have been redistributed. And the deal with Turkey is also failing to produce results. … The latest demand that Macedonia should better protect its border with Greece shows how hopeless the EU's situation is. A non-EU member is supposed to protect the Union from the wave of refugees coming from Greece, an EU country which to top it all is also a Schengen zone member. This shows that the EU simply doesn't want to accept that Greece is the biggest problem. The EU's powerlessness is the result of a lack of political will that is leading to more and more individual national measures which are jeopardising EU unity and the freedom to travel in Europe." (20/01/2016)

Nézőpontok - Hungary

EU must finally come to its senses

The EU must realise that it can only get a grip on the refugee crisis by protecting its external borders, political scientist Nándor Gömbicz writes on the blog of the pro-government political research institute Nézőpont: "The Hungarian government has been calling for the protection of the EU's external border since the start of the refugee crisis. ... One thing is certain: bearing in mind the actual circumstances and the political reality, border protection will sooner or later come into effect: that is the expectation not the least of the people of Europe, who see their security on the one hand and their social and cultural mores on the other in danger. ... As much as the refugee crisis demands a complex solution, Europe must finally realise that without the protection of its outer borders it will never have an effective one." (19/01/2016)

Die Welt - Germany

Closed borders achieve nothing

A growing number of voices in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party and its sister party the CSU are calling for Germany to close its borders. But that would be wrong, the conservative daily Die Welt argues: "Even that would not secure our comfortable lives in the long run. The Mediterranean would become a huge cemetery, Greece would soon be a failing state and Italy would quickly become unstable once again. It is significant that those calling for closed borders haven't done anything to help Germany better cope with the refugee problem. ... All those who fail to view the refugee problem as a matter that concerns all of Europe are only lying to their public. And they refuse to accept that this continent - which now has a successful political form after so many religious wars and terrors - is predestined to be able to cope with immigrants precisely because it has shown that it can establish rules while maintaining diversity." (20/01/2016)

» To the complete press review of Wednesday, January 20, 2016

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