EU countries are preparing to launch a joint platform to coordinate migration policy and combat illegal migration. As it became known this week, the headquarters of the new organization will be located in Vienna.
Specific areas of work will be approved after the summer holidays вЂ” at the same time, a new long-awaited pan-European Pact on migration should be adopted.
However, the attempt of European countries to reconsider their approach to the migration crisis does not cancel their previous commitments: on Friday, Germany accepted 83 out of almost 1 thousand people. Migrants, of which Berlin has agreed to take out of crowded of the Greek refugee camps.
On the afternoon of July 24, a flight from Athens landed in the German city of Kassel. There were 83 refugees from Africa and the Middle East on Board. Germany agreed to accept them as part of a humanitarian operation to redistribute refugees from countries where there are too many of them (in this case, from the Greek Aegean Islands) to other EU partners. From Kassel, buses with migrants went to different regions вЂ” for example, a family of Syrians of seven people will be provided with housing and benefits in Berlin.
Journalists were not allowed to visit the refugees: they first need to recover after moving from an overcrowded camp on a Greek island.
вЂњOrder and humanity are integral parts of migration policy, вЂ” explained the head of the interior Ministry of Germany Horst Seehofer.вЂ” On the thorny path to pan-European migration policy, it is imperative to show solidarity with countries whose borders are the external borders of the EU.вЂќ By the end of August, according to the German news agency DPA, Germany will accept a total of 928 migrants who have previously applied for asylum in Greece.
The first flight that landed in Kassel is evidence of a partial normalization of the European agenda after the epidemic. It is the migration crisis that has remained the focus of the European leader's attention for the past six years, and before the pandemic, a rare EU summit did not discuss this acute topic. It became a little easier in 2016 when the Europeans managed to convince Ankara in exchange for visa-free travel and generous monetary compensation to block transit for refugees from countries where there are military operations and just migrants from impoverished areas of Africa and the Middle East. However, by March of this year, the situation was again heated to the limit. Turkey accused the EU of not fulfilling its obligations and not paying compensation, and threatened to open the way to the EU for all 3.7 million refugees in the country.
However, soon the media footage of refugees storming border posts on the border of Turkey with Greece and Bulgaria was replaced by Chronicles from hospitals that received those who were infected with the coronavirus.
But despite the reduction in traffic along traditional migration routes, including through the Mediterranean and the Balkans, the problem itself has not gone away.
First, the flow of illegal migrants has only been reduced, but not blocked.
Second, densely populated dormitories and camps, even for law-abiding refugees, have been hotbeds of COVID-19 proliferation, the quality of medical care there suffers, and maintaining social distance is sometimes simply impossible.
And third, in the context of strict quarantine measures and close accommodation, many human rights defenders in European countries have expressed concern about the situation of already vulnerable migrants facing poverty, violence, and xenophobia.
вЂњNo country in the world alone can cope with either the pandemic or the migration crisis,вЂќ UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutters addressed the world community on June 3.вЂ” But together we can contain the spread of the virus, mitigate its effects on the most vulnerable groups of the population, and make sure that the recovery will lead to a better life for all citizens without exception.вЂќ
European countries are going to take up migration issues again after a series of summer holidays вЂ” it is expected that the EU may adopt a long-awaited pan-European Pact on migration.
At the same time, details about the work of the new platform to combat illegal migration in the Eastern Mediterranean should become known. Its creation was announced this week by Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer. The statement came after a conference in Vienna with Mr. Nehammer's colleagues from other EU countries. The headquarters of the new organization will also be located in Vienna.