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A Chain of Human Misery
What Chaos Looks Like

Talk about a slow-motion car crash: As countries up and down the Balkan migrant route, from Austria to Macedonia, start to tighten controls on how many people they admit, ugly scenes are starting to crop up. In Greece:

About 5,000 people massed at two locations in northern Greece, close to the border with Macedonia, while aid groups urged another 4,000, who arrived on the Greek mainland from outlying islands, not to head to north for fear of creating a bottleneck.

“Our biggest fear is that the 4,000 migrants who are in Athens head up here and the place will become overcrowded,” said Antonis Rigas, a coordinator of the medical relief charity Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).

Meanwhile some are trying their luck breaking into Hungary:

Police detained 501 migrants over the weekend who cut their way through Hungary’s steel border fence, the highest number since Hungary sealed off its southern borders in mid-October [. . .]

The fence diverted the flow of migrants away from Hungary toward Croatia and Slovenia last year when hundreds of thousands crossed the Balkans en route to Austria and western Europe.

However, as the weather improved in recent weeks, the number of migrants increased, and more began to cut through the fence despite a heavy police presence.

Austria has capped its daily intake of migrants at 3,200, and will allow 80 to claim asylum each day. It has threatened to whittle those numbers down even further in the coming weeks if it deems it necessary to do so. Croatia’s interior minister warned that his country would completely shut down the corridor the very moment Austria and Germany close their doors.

If the Balkan route ceased to be an option, migrants would likely once again take to the seas in attempts to reach Italy. Austria has warned that if this eventuality comes to pass, it would consider closing one of its major border crossings with Italy. Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi said the move would be “absolutely wrong” and would strike at the “heart of the very idea of European integration.”

Countries along the Balkan corridor are set to meet in Vienna on Wednesday, ahead of yet one more Europe-wide ministers’ summit aimed at addressing the issue. Optimism going into the summit is not exactly the dominant mood.

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  • Jim__L

    ‘Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi said the move would be “absolutely wrong” and would strike at the “heart of the very idea of European integration.”’

    But they are likely to do it anyway.

    The EU needs to become responsive to the needs of its citizens.

    Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to
    institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

  • Anthony

    Is Schengen dying? “A lot of the blame is put on Greece for not securing its borders, and on the EU for not working out an agreement to manage those who come.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-21/is-the-era-of-a-‘borderless-europe’-over/7187442

  • Blackbeard

    The EU thought it was enough to “deplore” the situation in the ME and, at the same time, bribe the Palestinians to leave them alone. Actually get involved in Syria? So 20th century. And now history has come calling.

  • Pete

    Europe should starting sending them all back..

    Once that happens, others won’t try to come.

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