Eastern Europe has had enough of Berlin’s refugee plans, and it isn’t going to take it anymore. Open Europe reports:
The Visegrad Group of Prime Ministers from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and The Czech Republic have called on the EU to prepare a “plan B” to stem the migration crisis if current EU plans fail to deliver results by mid-March, with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico accusing “certain European politicians” of making “big mistakes in the migrant crisis.” Following a summit in Prague, the leaders said they were ready to help Bulgaria and Macedonia seal off the Balkan Route if other measures failed, with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announcing that he has already sent personnel to assist border guards in Macedonia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Stuttgarter Zeitung, however, that she is opposed to the idea, “Simply building a fence in Macedonia, which is not an EU member…would not solve our problems,” she said. The EU yesterday approved an additional €10m to help Macedonia deal with the crisis.
This kind of piecemeal effort would have the effect of dividing Europe against itself on immigration, geographically as well as politically (some would say it’s already there on the latter, but things could certainly get worse.) The “Plan B” would likely put immense pressure on Greece—and other southern countries such as Italy—which would be caught between the refugees flowing from Syria, Libya, and elsewhere, on the one hand, and the newly fortified north, on the other.
But the Visegrad countries are signaling they’re fed up with, and don’t trust, the current approach. While Angela Merkel and Germany have made some hesitant movements in a restrictionist direction recently, Berlin hasn’t signaled nearly the kind of dramatic changes in policy that would restore Continent-wide trust in a pan-EU policy. Until it does, expect to see more proposals like this—and, perhaps, once the weather gets warm again and migrant flows increase, more than just proposals.