What We Know:
At a meeting in Granada, Spain, Poland accused Germany and the Netherlands of imposing a “diktat” on European Union states to tackle the growing numbers of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East.
The summit was held to discuss ways to bring down the immigrant numbers and refugees crossing into the EU. The member states have not yet agreed on how to divide the resources to help those that are migrating.
This year there have been almost 250,000 estimated arrivals, nearly overwhelming the member states. This has caused rising tensions amongst members as anti-immigrant policies are on the rise in some countries. Hungarian leader Victor Orban said “unanimity on migration is impossible because the EU left Hungary and Poland out of the deal”.
The Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had a similar complaint stating that the EU is “forcing his country to accept migrants or face fines”. Italy and Spain have voiced concern over arrivals via the ocean. Greece saw a shipwreck that killed hundreds of immigrants.
Germany is generally the destination for many of these migrants but even Berlin has had to begin border checks to ensure that people are not being smuggled into the country via human trafficking networks.
EU foreign policy chief , Josep Borrell said that if member states addressed the concerns of the nations of origin that migration could be dealt with at the root cause.
Why it Matters:
The EU has been dealing with this crisis for a few years. As the global economy worsened it seemed that the immigration and refugee crisis was going to get worse. Germany and the Netherlands have been leading the charge on EU reforms but there are many member states whose citizens are beginning to push for anti-immigration policy, making it increasingly difficult to place people in other countries.
There have been increased border controls in areas that have generally been open for travel. Citizens in all the countries have increasingly put migration at the top of their concerns for elections. Borrell believes the EU has to offer a common solution in order for its citizens and the migrants to benefit.
The EU has signed deals with African countries dealing with immigration policies. This was aimed at helping relocate some of the migrants back into a stable country after arriving in Europe. Deals like this help mitigate only a fraction of the traffic that is coming through member states and is considered a temporary fix for many in the EU.
This is not an issue that will go away overnight. Even with sweeping EU reforms, many member states are not willing to negotiate any further. Poland and Hungary both have populations that are opposed to any more placement. The decisions made by the EU recently have driven a wedge between member states as there does not seem to be a singular solution to any of their problems.