Saturday, December 3, 2016

"Competing for victimhood: Why eastern Europe says no to refugees"

[Slovenia, 25 October 2015. Photo: Janossy Gergely / Source: Shutterstock]

A thoughtful and balanced piece of writing from Slavenka Drakulic that helps explain bigotry in that part of the world...

"The constant meetings of EU leaders concerning the refugee crisis in Brussels have not so far yielded any solutions. Decisions and documents, yes, but the question remains how many of these are going to be implemented in reality. One of the reasons is that former communist states in eastern Europe are more or less openly defying a common approach, in particular the sharing of the burden of refugees through quotas.

Until recently it seemed that eastern and western Europeans were getting closer, that the new EU member states were slowly adapting to western democratic standards not only in form, but also in practice and mentality. 

But the refugee crisis has demonstrated how deep the division among Europeans still is. Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia reject quotas, Bulgaria was first to build a fence along its border with Turkey, Romania is not offering refugees safe havens either, and Slovenia and Croatia claim lack of capacity, while also lacking the will to keep them. 

It looks as if Poland, with its newly elected government, will reinforce this defiance. Not to mention countries outside the EU: if Serbia and Albania are willing to perhaps show a kinder face to refugees while guiding them towards western borders, it is with an eye on possible membership of the Union. Macedonia is in the worst situation, penniless, overrun and desperate. It is obvious that these states are not very eager to, or capable of, demonstrating solidarity, to say the least." 

Read more from source at Eurozine here.

No comments: