Mon, Sep 03, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Migrant crisis grips EU three years after Merkel’s call

AFP, BERLIN

The migration crisis has also unearthed a key fault line between western European nations and the former communist bloc, with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban leading the east in flatly refusing to take in refugees.

“Ten years ago, the biggest problem in Europe was that Western Europeans were unhappy about EU expansion as they fear job losses,” Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev said in an interview with Die Welt daily. “Today, eastern Europeans feel they are the biggest losers.”

However, he nevertheless voiced support for Merkel’s fateful decision, because leaving frontline nations Italy and Greece alone to deal with the crisis in 2015 “would have been the end of the EU.”

Italy’s far-right Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini has repeatedly accused Europe of abandoning his country.

Ahead of next year’s European parliament elections, the minister has also aligned himself with the right-wing “Visegrad” countries of the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria and Hungary to form an anti-migration camp.

“The appearance of a ‘nationalist international’ will hopefully trigger a countermobilization of pro-European political forces,” Lehne said, adding that this could in turn spark a necessary healthy debate on the future of the EU.

“Such a debate involves risks, as major parts of the public remain alienated from the EU, but it also could turn into a catalyst for positive change. Some storms are necessary to clear the air and provide a better view on what the future holds,” he said.

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