The Refugee Crisis Tests The Present And Future Of The European Union

In its effort to correct the mistakes made in their refugee and migrant policy, Europe appears to some to have sacrificed their principles in the process. The European Union has proposed a plan to provide Turkey with three billion euros (about USD 3.26 billion) in aid in exchange for a commitment to restraining the flow of migrants into Europe.

This realpolitik is normal, but now countries are weighing the idea of punishing nations that refuse to accept the return of Middle East refugees, which exposes the unprincipled nature of the EU, say the editors of The Economist.

“It is easy to bleat about human rights when you are living in a peaceful, postmodern paradise; less so when you have millions of illegal migrants barging through your back door,” reads their editorial.

Josef Janning of the European Council of Foreign Relations views the realpolitik differently and without the obvious objections to the EU-Turkey deal itself. He maintains the EU should make the deal incumbent upon Turkey agreeing to provide more financial assistance to improve the conditions of the refugee camps.

“Instead of outsourcing humanitarian assistance to the United Nations or leaving it to neighboring countries, Europeans need to take matters into their own hands to control the migratory pressure upstream, and to preserve Europe’s normative integrity under the constraints of realpolitik,” he writes.

The deal was intended to manage the flow of refugees from Turkey onto the Continent, but it may simply end up like all of the other proposals made in the last two years – a failed effort that raises questions about the fate of the union.

“If the principle of cooperative benevolence, which Europe designed in response to the terrible nationalist crimes of the last century, cannot deal with a humanitarian disaster at its doors, what on earth is it for?,” asks Daley, adding that the EU’s inability to reach agreement on a unified strategy to deal with refugees has created “total chaos.”

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