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The 2nd Migrant Wave to Germany

by DoDo Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 08:12:27 AM EST

Back in 1989, around the time school started for me at the start of September, Budapest was full of East Germans hoping to leave for West Germany (for a mix of political and economic reasons), hopeful because Hungary started to dismantle the Iron Curtain a few months earlier. A large group camped out at the West German embassy, but there were makeshift camps around the city. The government finally opened the borders for them on 11 September, launching a mostly car-riding emigration wave (at least 70,000 people in three months). A few weeks later, East Germans camping out in Warshaw and Prague were taken to West Germany in sealed trains.

Yesterday, something similar happened, only this time the refugees are dark-skinned and faced much worse treatment. In line with both the government's xenophobic campaign and the EU's Dublin Agreement (whose main aim was to keep refugees from moving to the richer EU members), Hungarian authorities prevented the mostly Syrian refugees without EU visa from boarding trains bound for the west. Most of the stranded refugees who refused to be taken to Hungarian camps stayed in the underpass at main station Budapest Keleti (up to two thousand), in a makeshift "transit zone" lacking basic hygiene and only cared for by an NGO.

I don't know whether it was concern about image (to have such misery as the first sight of arriving Western tourists), or anger at the German foreign minister's denouncement of the anti-refugee wall built at the Serbian border, or anger at general Western hypocrisy; but yesterday, the government decided to withdraw police and let refugees board the trains. Without any plans about how to manage the thousands of extra passengers (all transit countries refused to send extra trains), entirely predictably, the result was utter chaos, from Budapest to Munich: ticket counters were (actually, still are) clogged, some trains left with an hour delay due to over-loading, the first train was stopped in the last city before Munich but local police didn't have the capacity to process more than half of the refugees on-board; other trains were stopped at the Hungarian–Austrian border station, but after the filtering-out of refugees who already filed for asylum in Hungary the trains still travelled on over capacity; on the parallel highway, Austrian police started checks of all trucks, causing a 50 km traffic jam.

For the hectic events since, especially today, check the comments.


Some extra notes for context.

When I wrote about the truly vicious anti-immigrant campaign launched by Hungary's right-populist government three months ago, I ended with:

I'm unsure what the medium-term result of the xenophobic campaign will be, but I am rather certain that it won't be major voter gains for Fidesz from Jobbik.

Now three months wiser, I can say: gaining from Jobbik indeed didn't work, but if nothing else, the "localisation" of Western-European-style xenophobia was quite successful. It's the number one theme for public discussions (in place of the government's ever bigger corruption scandals), and quite negatively so. Although there are no arson attacks and xenophobic mass riots, there were plenty of stories of police violence, shops refusing to serve refugees, verbal insults and spitting even from rural old women. One defamation that is particularly popular (in spite of directly contradicting that other one about "economic migrants" being distinct from "true refugees") holds that the refugees aren't really poor because they can afford smartphones (whereas those smartphones are their only valuables and are used as maps and news source).

There were also some counter-actions. The most visible of them was a large crowd-funded poster campaign satirizing or shaming the government's campaign. One of those said: "Come to work in Hungary! We have jobs in London", referring to the exodus of skilled young people during Fidesz's reign. Also, speaking to right-wing colleagues, I sense some realism, they can see that the refugee wave won't stop no matter what we do and they can even be made to admit that the border fence won't stop refugees (though they won't admit that it boosted the 'market' that included that truck with 71 dead refugees). But overall, I fear serious immunity to the anti-refugee hate-mongering is limited to the capital.

Display:
It should be noted that, unlike the majority of refugees who don't get past the giant refugee camps in Turkey, a large part of the Afghan, Pakistani, Syrian and Iraqi refugees reaching Europe are middle-class and educated: people who hope to get by with their technical and language knowledge. The brain-drain aspect of migration was the focus of Metatone's Periphery, migration & decline diary, and I fear it will have even stronger long-term effects on those four crisis countries than on Southern Europe and formerly communist EU members.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 03:40:54 AM EST
This morning at 9 o'clock Budapest Keleti was closed off entirely (meaning no trains arrived or left). No meaningful explanation was given.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 04:39:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The international press think they have a pretty good idea...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 05:04:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By "no meaningful" I meant that the railway issued a press release justifying the closure with police action, while police pushed people out of the station pointing to the closure ordered by the railway...

Indeed it seems the refugees were allowed to leave only for a day (new back-room agreement with Austria and/or Germany?). Now the station reopened, with heavy checks at the entrance, and refugees (and people thought to look like refugees...) are kept out. Especially cruel: until the morning a lot of refugees bought train tickets for big bucks, and now can't use those.

Meanwhile, the Hungarian government continues its hate campaign. One Fidesz leader suggested that the refugees bring Islamic State to Europe (yeah right, formal logic died another death: refugees from the IS bring the IS...)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 06:17:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are there similar controls at Kelenföld?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 06:25:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't read of such controls, nor of a 'transit zone' there, and I haven't seen any refugees there when I boarded a train there two weeks ago. I suspect the reason is that few refugees arriving from the south or east realised that they can change trains there and got off only at the thre terminal stations (there are refugee 'transit zones' at the Budapest Nyugati and Déli, too).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 06:39:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While police declared that no refugees will be allowed to board the trains again, part of the stranded refugees staged a sitting strike. Here are some of their chants, translated by Arab-speakers for Index.hu:

  • Let us leave!
  • We have no problem with Hungarians, we just want to leave!
  • Greetings to the Hungarians!
  • Return our money! [meaning the price of the train tickets they weren't allowed to use]

And in English:

  • Freedom, freedom!
  • UN, help us!

This reminds me of a bizarre aspect of the closing of the station in the morning: the loudspeakers announced the closure in Hungarian only. This although announcements are trilingual (also in English and German) by default, and they found an Arab-speaker yesterday when the refugees were allowed to board.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 03:45:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 04:36:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He told that during a joint press conference with Martin Schulz in the EP building. It sounds like a justification for yesterday's attempt to cart off the refugees "for registration" by force, which is strange because that attempt was aborted late in the night. Of course, he didn't explain why not much was done in the weeks prior, then why people were allowed to leave on Monday, then why all they did on Tuesday was to filter out the refugees, and finally why yesterday's forced removal was aborted.

As for today, the refugees stormed a train, resulting in the suspension of all international trains to and from the West. And the bizarre incompetence continues: the station speaker only announced the suspensions in Hungarian and no one informs the refugees (actually, not even the policemen: journalists report they have no clue what's planned either).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 04:53:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 04:41:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So does this just shift all the problems to Györ?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 04:53:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, all international trains stop at Hegyeshalom, and the refugees don't even know about that possibility of changing trains. (There is utter chaos, the refugees first stormed a number of international trains going in all directions, including even one for Serbia, until someone told them that that's where they came from.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 04:58:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now the chaos is increasing. A domestic train for border city Sopron was allowed to depart after police removed refugees from only one of the cars. Meanwhile, domestic trains passing through Győr are checked, too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 05:46:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is a picture of the stormed train:



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 04:55:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And here is another picture. Oh the irony!

by Katrin on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 06:41:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the chaos is just getting bigger. The train to Sopron was stopped at Bicske, place of the biggest migrant camp, and police got most of the refugees off the train. But the refugees then refused to be taken to the camp. After a standoff in the underpass, now the refugees are boarding the train, again.

Whatever police, the railway and the government are doing, it is total utter chaos, there is no sign of any central decision-making or foresight. Quite fitting for the Fidesz government, for which exercising power is above all about communication: they hoped to get votes with xenophobia but didn't think there would be need for actual actions and planning. But the ugly thing is: Fidesz voters (not to mention Jobbik voters) will still blame the refugees.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 07:42:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]

by Katrin on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 07:48:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This was a single family, and reports of what really happened are confused: apparently, they wanted to leave the station, and some say the husband tried to protect his wife and child when cornered and they feared they will be separated. They were taken away (and separated) like this:

Meanwhile, at Keleti, police again filters passengers boarding the next train, apparently recognising that the fooling of the refugees didn't work.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 08:00:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
HVG reports that according to civilian interpreters hired by police, in the morning the policemen had them tell the refugees that the trains are leaving for Germany. If so, the stop at Bicske was the goal of everything that happened earlier today, and it was really a pre-planned trick of the dirtiest kind.

There is a second train full of refugees that left Keleti but didn't arrive in Bicske yet; I wonder what will happen there. (The news of what happened with the first train surely reached them.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 08:13:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah, I'm not up to date any more. Said second train already passed Bicske. On-board the train, police separated the c. 100 refugees and the others, but no one knows what's planned.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 08:18:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can check trains on the map here. The second refugee train (which is between Tatabánya and Komárom) is #9304, the first on the other hand is not shown, indicating that the railway already terminated its path.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 08:24:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Refugees on the second train looking out from the window, at an anti-immigrant government placard:

(The stock photo girl on the placard says: "We don't want illegal immigrants!" The half-covered slogan further down: "The Hungarian reforms are WORKING!")

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 09:07:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The second train was stopped at the last station before Győr, and the refugees were guided to buses which took them to the city for registration.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 09:32:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be precise: police wanted to take the refugees by bus, but the refugees (who heard what happened to the other train) refused to board. A third group made it to Győr and were detained there.

In Bicske, the stand-off continues on the first train. Police apparently wanted to "wear out" the refugees, who stayed in wagons heating up to desert temperatures without basic provisions. But the refugees now have so little trust in police that they even refuse to accept water from them.

Meanwhile, Orbán claimed that an "ever smaller part" of the refugees arrive from war zones. Actually, the opposite is true: the Kosovo emigration ebbed off, now the overwhelming majority comes from war zones.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 01:11:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As for that family on the track: now there is a video via Sky News which shows that they were already cornered by police when the husband suddenly pulled his wife down to the tracks, so it seems it really was a protest.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 08:48:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ÖBB information simply replaces Budapest by Kelenföld and claims that the Railjet is running normally from there.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 04:57:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not true. Even the railjets from Vienna are being stopped at the border.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 05:04:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 06:39:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The NGO who cares for the "transit zones" is publishing lists of what the refugees need. Yesterday the items included stuff for children, so my sister brought stuff with her children and gave them to one family. Also yesterday the NGO called for a protest at Nyugati station (which I wanted to attend but went home in the last minute due to stomach pains). The occasion is new darkness: right now, parliament is debating a package of law revision proposals which would criminalise several acts relating to illegal border crossing or helping migrants, and would allow police to search homes when looking for illegal immigrants without a search warrant. Jobbik is suddenly speaking about national unity and will support it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 08:35:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a large part of the Afghan, Pakistani, Syrian and Iraqi refugees reaching Europe are middle-class and educated: people who hope to get by with their technical and language knowledge
A question I'm having is why now? The war in Syria has been going on for 4 years.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 05:10:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I read of two reasons: one, the Assad regime is bleeding out and hope of any positive outcome is lost for the secular middle class; two, the situation has worsened in the big refugee camps housing millions in Turkey.

What I did not read any explanation for is the similarly strong up-tick in refugees from Afghanistan and Pakistan. As for what makes it a perfect storm, the third simultaneous wave from Kosovo and the rest of the Balkans itself, methinks the simultaneousness is accidental.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 06:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm thinking that there is a snowball effect currently. Everyone who has been contemplating a move to the EU at some future date now has the idea that the EU will soon close its borders for real, and they are all thinking : it's now or never.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 08:22:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hopefully they are right but unfortunately some will try to keep Schengen alive a little bit longer.
by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 08:29:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not so easy to close borders, fortunately. And once the refugees have crossed the borders they are entitled to protection. I don't expect an abolishment of the Geneva Conventions. As to violations of those conventions: that is a political issue, an issue that needs media attention and protest.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 08:38:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Borders can't be closed for real, you can only create more business for smugglers, see US-American border.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 09:09:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"two, the situation has worsened in the big refugee camps housing millions in Turkey."

And was never good in Lebanon.

by IM on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 09:32:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The situation in Iraq got a lot worse. Still Afghanistan and Pakistan is like Syria a bit of a mystery.

Also former Yugoslavia and Albania: Why now? What is really different compared to five years ago?

by IM on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 09:30:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the case of Kosovo, there was a relaxation of Serbia's travel rules and a government change in Kosovo itself (a grand coalition of corrution); but there was the snowball effect, too:

Thousands flee economic despair in Kosovo for EU countries, welcome or not - LA Times

But the sudden surge of departures appears to have been motivated by word of mouth. Many would-be migrants say they decided to leave after watching neighbors and relatives depart and having read their Facebook posts about making it to an EU country.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 09:40:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IM:
Also former Yugoslavia and Albania: Why now? What is really different compared to five years ago?

Perhaps five years of austerity in neighbouring countries killing exports?

by fjallstrom on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 02:58:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did that actually happen?
by IM on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 04:31:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know, it was just a suggestion. Looking at GDP per capita PPP (to get a grasp of economic living conditions) in Albania indicates that it was rising faster pre-crisis, but it is still rising.

Serbia has more marked stagnation:

As have Bosnia:

And Macedonia:

(Data is from the World Bank, graphs from tradingeconomics)

So yes, economies has stagnated in the non-EU balkans during austerity. Wheter from lack of exports, less remittances or home-grown austerity, I don't know.

by fjallstrom on Wed Sep 2nd, 2015 at 10:17:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a link to Personal remittances, received (% of GDP) so I checked the same countries there. In Albania and Bosnia remittances are a big deal and has gone down from pre crisis numbers of 15% of GDP in Albania and 18% of GDP in Bosnia to 8.5% of GDP in Albania and 11% of GDP in Bosnia.

More or less stable for Serbia and Macedonia.

by fjallstrom on Mon Sep 7th, 2015 at 07:13:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ISIS is getting stronger, and promises nothing good to the educated. An extreme case of middle class squeeze.

For comparison, there is this study by an Albanian author, mainly about the migration from Eastern Europe in the 90s:

International Migration, Social Demotion, and Imagined Advancement

Contemporary migration involves a dramatic paradox. Although much of what is considered international or transnational migration today transforms people of a wide range of social standings in the emigration countries into laborers at the bottom social and economic ranks of the immigration countries, millions of individuals worldwide seek to migrate internationally. [The book] argues that this paradox cannot be explained for as long as common preconceptions about immigrants' economic betterment thwart even questioning why individuals who are not threatened by famine or war willingly pursue their demotion abroad. Recognizing immigrants' decline as such, this book proposes viewing contemporary migration as socioglobal mobility. Revolving around an ethnographic study of the Albanian "emigration" in Greece, [the book] finds that imaginaries of the world as a social hierarchy might lie at the roots of much of the contemporary international migration. As would-be emigrants perceive different countries in terms of distinct social stations in a global order, they resolve to put up with numerous social and material deprivations in the hope of advancing internationally. Immigrants are typically thought of as aliens in their de facto home societies, however, and that makes genuine advancement all but impossible.
by das monde on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 11:24:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The 15:38 from Munich to Italy on Sunday left an hour late, because it arrived over 90 minutes late. The reason was the checks at Rosenheim. The delays have been pretty standard for the last few months, but never as bad as this.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 05:04:54 AM EST
"One defamation ... holds that the refugees aren't really poor because they can afford smartphones (whereas those smartphones are their only valuables and are used as maps and news source)"

Actually those smartphones are less valuable than they look. The manufacturers were unable to sell many of them at the regular price in the Middle East, and then created special "Middle East/China/Brazil models" with a lower quality of many parts (like the cameras), and much cheaper. These smartphones are fairly affordable, especially because their owners very often do not possess other electronic devices (like laptops, TV).

More facts on the smartphone nonsense (in German) here.

by Katrin on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 05:22:52 AM EST
It's worth to add to notes here. One, while most of the anti-refugee nonsense is pan-European, the smartphone one has a greater pull in Hungary (and, I guess, to the south-east from here) because most people still have 'normal' phones (something partly related to pricing by local providers – I don't have one for economic reasons, too).

Two, I read an article in which emphasized that the smartphones changed migration in a major way: thanks to the maps and tips on refugee Facebook groups, over half of the refugees now travel on their own, without paying the smugglers (or pay them only at the most difficult spots, like the EU external borders).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 06:32:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Sweden it is: They have iPhones! In effect, they have up-scale smart phones.

As most complaints, these are mostly direct at the - mostly Roumanian romani - street beggars that the last few years has swamped the rather small domestic groups of street beggars. From their stories it is pretty clear that they used to be able to get by on seasonal manual labor and marginal jobs in south Europe.

Though it was a while since I heard the iPhone one. Perhaps because you can essentially get an old iPhone for free.

by fjallstrom on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 03:10:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 10:30:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A decision of the ECtHR exactly when it is needed to make a political impact: authorities have to respect human rights and human dignity of refugees even when many of them arrive in very short time and authorities aren't prepared at all. And thinly disguised collective expulsion remains illegal.

Italy: Judges say unlawfully-detained migrants faced degrading conditions at Lampedusa reception centre | HUMANERIGHTSEUROPE

Judges have agreed that Italy's unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants, in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa pending collective expulsion, breached human rights laws.

As just satisfaction (Article 41) in the case of Khlaifia and Others v. Italy (application no. 16483/12), the European Court of Human Rights held that Italy was to pay each applicant 10,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and the applicants EUR 9,344.51, jointly, in respect of costs and expenses.

The complaint concerned the detention in a reception centre on Lampedusa and subsequently on ships moored in Palermo harbour, as well as the repatriation to Tunisia, of clandestine migrants who had landed on the Italian coast in 2011, during the events linked to the `Arab Spring.'

Good. And we need more political pressure.

by Katrin on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 02:07:23 PM EST
If the current flow holds up into the next year then Dublin will be over. Also, with some years of delay, Schengen will be over too. But that will require further catastrophes (no short supply of those).

Factors that play into it: A heterogenous asylum system of member states and a desire to push the folks somewhere else once capacities are deemed maxed out. The asylum issue is seen as exacerbating the immigration issue that is already a causing a lot of political stink (side effect: this could push the UK towards a Brexit). A raft of new legislation is being prepared in a number of EU countries as we speak. The dominoes have been falling for some time, starting with Switzerland and the UK, eventually leading to some minor version of Fortress Europe. E.g. if the Hungarian government can't use Austria/Germany as a refugee sink then it will replace the three stacks of barbed wire with a real fence.

An anthropo-political factor: In a massive crisis the first phases are marked by helpfulness and even a certain euphoria. Once the daily grind settles in and the crisis shows no signs of abating, people start getting more annoyed. Then comes the real political crunch time.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 03:26:14 PM EST
it will replace the three stacks of barbed wire with a real fence.

That's no if: they are building a 4-metre wall. Which won't stop the smugglers any more than the one already standing at the Turkish-Greek border.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 03:49:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is of course plenty of experience with more efficient fences and walls, but copying them would be a bit too embarassing, I guess.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 04:23:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I confused some news items.  

Another factor that doesn't help: a stagnating Eurozone. Tolerance is proportional to economic growth.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 04:38:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was surprised you left this one off - in the UK at least it's pretty clear that this is the biggest factor.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Sep 2nd, 2015 at 04:53:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"the current flow" so far has led to a refugee population of 0.027% of the EU population. A crisis! Catastrophe! There are now 793,000 refugees living in Germany. In 1997 there were more than a million and the world did not end.

The right wing wants a narrative of limited capacities. There are more than enough empty flats  in municipality-owned houses alone for the 800,000 refugees our Interior Minister expects for this year. It is just more profitable to sell them or pull down the houses. A question of the political will to put the needs of humans first, and of the political will not to cater for the racist right wing. Something the left ought to say something on. And there is currently a wave of solidarity of people who are fed up with the racism and inhumanity, who take food and other necessities to the railway stations with refugees or to Calais or to the Greek islands. Surely we ought to connect to that, and not to the crisis narrative of the right wing.

by Katrin on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 04:51:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I said, it's the "flow" and not the population that's already there. It's all about political appearances. If Germany keeps taking in 800,000/year then that's 1% of the total population every year. The total net figure of those who stay will exceed 1 million easily this year. And if the rate stays that way for the medium term then that will become quite a different issue from the Yugoslavian wars of the 90s. The Lebanese civil war took 15 years - Syria's war will last just as long with the added 'benefit' of IS.

Filling those calcifying empty villages [in the East] seems a good idea to me in principle. But how well is that working in practice? There are always people who do the right thing but they can't always do it full time. In the end it's a political issue of governments. Solidarity didn't win out in the Euro crisis and I am not optimistic it will win out in this instance. See the haggling within Germany in that Zeit article and see the haggling between the EU countries. In the end, people are selfish and evil.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 05:24:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To maintain over 1 million for five years, basically all refugees would have to come to Europe. For 15 years, you would need further mass displacements, not the solidifying of the current ones.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 05:41:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't clear enough. The net influx this year will add to the 793,000 Katrin mentioned so that at the end of the year we will have a million+  who will be officially recognized as refugees in some form. I didn't want to say a million people will come every year.

The number of people coming next year and after that will probably not be as high as this year. If however, the numbers don't let up or even if they stay at about half the current rate then we'll run into political problems quickly.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 08:27:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But how many of the 793,000 will be here next year, and as refugees in need of help? Some will have moved on, some will have been refused, others will obtain a different status by getting a job or marriage or whatever. You cannot simply add the numbers of each year's inflow.
by Katrin on Wed Sep 2nd, 2015 at 05:02:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the point being made is that to sustain these flows for significant spans of years would require the source nations to be emptied. Not just the educated elites, but the entire populations would have to up stakes.
by Thomas on Wed Sep 2nd, 2015 at 10:50:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
epochepoque:
Solidarity didn't win out in the Euro crisis and I am not optimistic it will win out in this instance.

That's not quite true. The framing in the Euro crisis was (and is) that Greece needed money and the taxpayers of the Eurozone gave that money in order to help. Most people are in favour of helping Greece in solidarity and don't quite understand why the Greeks are being ungrateful. We, the left, did not manage to successfully counter this narrative, so far that is. We are working against an economic dogma that has been dominant for a generation, though.

In the issue of granting refuge to people fleeing the wars of the Middle East and Africa there is no such dogma. It is a matter that people can understand without a course in economics as it hasn't been taught for 35 years. You watch the news of the atrocities and then you hear of people who give up their homes and all their possessions and try to escape. That's not that hard to understand and to have empathy with. No, people aren't selfish and evil. People often are scared, and then they become selfish and evil. It is a matter of political activism, if they need to be scared, though, and what or whom they fear. If we remain passive, your scenario might happen.

by Katrin on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 06:04:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed it is easier to understand that you have to help people who fear for life and limb. That's why there is a clear majority for that. The corollary in the public's opinion is that those refugees need to be prioritized, especially when total numbers are high. Which is one reason why only 14% of people think it's ok that poor people from Balkan countries are seeking asylum.

It's critical to get people into jobs or education quickly. Germany can currently accomodate that need because there are openings due to the economic 'boom' (if you can call it that). If and when that boom sputters out in our age of secular stagnation then what? I hope it happens at the tail end of the refugee crisis. Things could get really nasty. Not just here but in the whole EU. That could really test the meaning of solidarity. If the current numbers are a one-off I'm happy to be proved wrong. But thinking long-term, this won't be the last refugee crisis. There is a host of problems such as climate change, demographics, good old fashioned war, the Middle East burning as violently as ever. Come to think of it, the refugee crisis will never end because those crises themselves will never end. This is where it gets dystopian. Have you ever seen the film "Children of Men" where compassion has been snuffed out by constant stress and turmoil?

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 09:05:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trying to stop this exodus is like trying to fix a leaky roof in the rain, the more cops they deploy the more obvious it becomes that
a. Walls don't work,
 b. There aren't enough border guards and never will be,
c. If we hadn't meddled in their patch there wouldn't be so many of them, and the toothpaste will not go back in the tube.

It makes all the bickering in the EU look like Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

White privilege is running out all over, better late than never!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 09:45:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If and when that boom sputters out in our age of secular stagnation then what?
You can always monetarily finance feeding, housing and employing refugees. Unless you're an Ordoliberal.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 2nd, 2015 at 04:32:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Things could get really nasty indeed, but this does not depend on any refugees as catalyst. There are more groups eligible for othering. In order to dismantle the welfare state the disabled, the sick and the old are the obvious choice for some demonisation.

My point is that the current inflow of refugees and the solidarity and empathy most people feel with them is a very good opportunity to advance a leftist agenda. There are enough flats to house them, if we no longer place capital's interest before humans' interest. We can employ an army of teachers to integrate the refugees quickly, and this will benefit the refugees and the (native) teachers, and all of us because state spending generates income that is spent... Try to explain that in connection with the working of the Euro!

No, I haven't watched that film, but I get the point. That makes it even more urgent to counter the right wing's campaign of producing fear. Fear about the millions of strangers coming every year and accumulating over the next 15 years... Nonsense. Today's refugees will have moved on or settled in by then. See the Yugoslav refugees. I don't see anything to support the theory that humans are by nature evil and selfish. They must be made that, compassion must be snuffed out by a policy of creating tension and aggression. This policy can, and must, be countered.

by Katrin on Wed Sep 2nd, 2015 at 04:56:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is a method to snuff out compassion:

Hungarian TV `told not to broadcast images of refugee children' | World news | The Guardian

Employees of Hungarian state television have been instructed not to include children in footage of news pieces about migrants and refugees, a leaked screenshot of editorial advice to journalists at news channel M1 reveals.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 2nd, 2015 at 08:15:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Integration teachers as economic stimulus? I'm afraid that would fall short as a left-wing agenda item: Integrationslehrer - Nur raus aus dem Traumberuf - SpOn. The article describes a full-time teacher who -as a top earner- takes home €1,200 a month. Some of them have to supplement their income with HartzIV. That's not gonna lead the Eurozone recovery.

Housing is a another sore point. I'd think immigration is one of the most important ways to alleviate our demographic problem. The caveat is that all those empty graying villages are empty for a reason - the jobs are somewhere else and people move accordingly to the metropolitan areas. Which is where we have been having a affordability/supply/gentrification problem.

...but soon we need a massive building program for affordable housing. Otherwise we will have tent cities during this winter and later on massive competition between people who already need social housing today. That would be poison for our social cohesion and the ideal growth medium for right-wing extremists and xenophobia.
This op-ed penned by a green and a CDU politician shows a way by which this challenge could be met but also how this could follow the anti-immigrant template already demonstrated by other countries. The Swiss complain about the Germans and how they take away jobs and housing. The Brits complain about the Bulgarians and the Poles. Their housing problems are largely self-inflicted but that doesn't stop people from blaming the new competition. And so came the drive to limit migration to a minimum in the UK and Switzerland. Also that problem doesn't suddenly go away if the status of a refugee changes. A different label doesn't grow an apartment.

Jobs? "low-skill, high-labour turnover occupations that are necessarily migrants' first port of call". Highly-qualified immigrants have a problem getting into appropriate jobs under normal circumstances (the proverbial foreign academic driving taxi). Wasn't Germany supposed to soak up all those young hopeful Spaniards and Greeks? That barrier won't change overnight just because of the Syrians. Then comes the language barrier. And not all will be highly-educated. Very highly educated people are arriving too. "But the officials on site tell me they expect a share of 15 to 20 percent of adult illiterates" (interior minister de Maiziere) He also said:

... de Maizière warned that integrating the new arrivals could be difficult. Currently there are about four million Muslims in Germany, especially with a Turkish background he said. "Now we will get hundreds of thousands of Muslims with an Arabic background. Which is, according to my French colleague, a significant difference in terms of integration."
There we have the complex of culture, religion, race, and xenophobia that nobody wants to talk about (me neither!). I hope for the best but some bidirectional culture shock is inevitable. And watch how the mood will flare up if one single refugee commits a crime. See the case of the Eritreian asylum seeker who murdered two people in a Swedish IKEA (the right-wing 'Swedish democrats' are nearing 20% approval).

Which leads me to another conclusion. There is a practical theory that says welfare states are reliant on the trust generated by a mostly homogenous population. That is actually born out by observation. Mistrust, segregation, and transactional costs rise in such cases as the US, Nigeria, etc. Why do you think the US doesn't have a comprehensive welfare state? Because they don't want 'those people' to have it. Why is every major city in the US neatly segregated by race? In Europe too. So to add another insult towards humanity: people are not only selfish and evil (sometimes), they are xenophobic and racist too.

A long ramble to support my original point: Schengen is toast.

PS: Leading nation alone - Sueddeutsche

Germany has adopted a sharp rhetorical stance during the Greek crisis. Now Berlin shouldn't be surprised that solidarity is lacking in the refugee question. ... For the first time ever, a significant number of member states say that a problem is irrelevant to them. This tone has a new quality and will not lead to a fast resolution. ... 90% of refugees are taken in by just nine of the 28 member states. The way the appeals towards a fair sharing of the burden are brushed aside threatens the foundation of the EU. The danger for European cohesion becomes obvious.
Monkey see, monkey do.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Wed Sep 2nd, 2015 at 04:09:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
epochepoque:
That's not gonna lead the Eurozone recovery.

That's gonna be a topic on which to explain Europe's recovery. The beauty is in expanding the budget to cover the cost for the integration of refugees (and I did not demand to pay these teachers worse than other teachers). Contrary to other items there is nothing in the German budget that will be cut to compensate for these costs. Didactically useful.

As to housing, apparently I wasn't clear enough: there are empty flats not only in regions without jobs. There are empty flats everywhere, although it is illegal. Affordable flats are missing, because there is almost no social housing in the hand of the public and because there is nothing done to enforce the law. (I checked the figures for Hamburg: not a single fine in 2014 or 2015). This is an important item on any leftist agenda, and of course there are already initiatives working on it.  Now, suddenly, everybody is talking about the need for affordable housing. Instead of pitching groups against each other I recommend that we advocate social housing, more social housing, and additionally that the laws against speculation are at last enforced. Actually I recommend that the left demands what we have always demanded, the only thing that has changed is that now we might be heard, because the arrival of so many refugees makes it so urgent.

epochepoque:

Which leads me to another conclusion. There is a practical theory that says welfare states are reliant on the trust generated by a mostly homogenous population.

And there is another theory that says that social cohesion--"trust"--is generated by collective efforts and achievements, but that theory is pretty unpopular with  the ruling class. Much better to spread the one of the homogenous population, which, by the way, is purely in the eye of the beholder. Class differences don't exist in that theory. How convenient. In Germany such theories are advanced by people with so very German names as Sarrazin or Buschkowsky, and still their fans believe that immigration destroys the homogenity of the population.

epochepoque:

Why do you think the US doesn't have a comprehensive welfare state?

Because McCarthy destroyed their entire left.

Why is every major city in the US neatly segregated by race? In Europe too.

More than 50 nationalities in my daughter's school, so no. I can't say much about the US, but in Europe cities are mostly segregated by class, not "race". The lower end of the working class happens to be more immigrant and dark skinned than other segments of the population. That makes anti-immigrant and racist positions even more attractive for the ruling class: they neatly divide working class activism this way.

by Katrin on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 05:51:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, the people/governments didn't understand the logic of expansionary fiscal policies last time around and they're not gonna get it now. The prevailing austerity logic will instead lead to resentments because of the cost generated by the refugees. This mechanism is currently suspended because people know it's an extraordinary charitable outlay. But will it last if people keep coming in masses? You could rightly argue it's not that much money. But if it isn't then what's the stimulus? Some (hopefully properly paid) teachers? I have more hope for a building spree of subsidized housing. But that is a slow process that's already a decade behind. More potential for resentment. Also, as the Zeit article said, wage depression due to the newly arrived is probable in the very sector, i.e. low level service jobs (our 'saviour' from being the 'sickest man in Europe'), that is the problem spot in the labour market. Another vector for huge resentment.

Empty flats illegal? Whatever. Supply and demand rules supreme, even more so in a bifurcated market where the affordable housing part is under pressure. Build as if your life depended on it (if you can control the NIMBYism - watch that space). A neo-squatter movement that marks down a few hundred properties per city won't matter.

Re: theories of trust and social cohesion. Your theory that trust can and needs to be built is essentially correct. Some examples:

  • The areas with the least amount of immigrants have the highest xenophobia (Sachsen represent!). You fear what you don't know etc.
  • I read a story about a Berlin school that had a hard time integrating middle class children with migrants' children. The parents didn't want to send their children to 'these schools'. The turnaround came when the school promised their children would go to class with exactly those migrant children they already knew from kindergarten. Shared experiences, upbringing, etc.
  • Immigrants who directly start working, i.e. who have a job lined up before migrating, have vastly better chances of making it. Trust is built with the people they work with.
This is where I get nervous. Where are the opportunities going to come from? Young children are better off. They can go to school and learn the language within a month, get educated and eventually get into a passable career. The adults have it much harder. They have to learn a new language and try to get into a menial job, possibly competing with other unemployeds. The problem of absorption gets more difficult the higher the flow rate is. If you don't find connections you stay connected just with your own kind and then we'll have ghettoization and the xenophobic culture wars again. For the most of Europe the problem is already there. Says a French newspaper: "Germany may have opportunities in the service sector for the refugees but Italy, Spain and France can't even offer those jobs to their own young people." So in the absence of opportunities for building social cohesion my theory still holds.

In the American case you can't simply dump it all on McCarthy who 'single-handedly destroyed the left'. Racial segregation and social stratification have a longer history than that. Look at Donald Trump who is now having success promoting social benefits but 'only for the right people'. Those people vote and they can't stand the idea of 'welfare queens' with a different skin colour.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 03:25:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
epochepoque:
Unfortunately, the people/governments didn't understand the logic of expansionary fiscal policies last time around and they're not gonna get it now.

I am sure that the governments have already understood it. Or at least they will get it very quickly if the people apply some gentle pressure to toes, or less gentle pressure by pitchfork... But the people must get it.

epochepoque:

You could rightly argue it's not that much money. But if it isn't then what's the stimulus?

Indeed, it is not that much money that reasonable people need to get nervous. And the stimulus is in showing how it works, and demanding that the principle is applied to other groups of the population too. We are unable to enforce that without a humanitarian crisis, because the dogma says that this way hyperinflation comes. Now there is no alternative, the refugees need refuge, period. They are in Europe, and it doesn't matter if we like that or not. There must be some provisions for them, and inadequate or not, they will cost money, but will not cause hyper-inflation.

Don't misunderstand me, I am not saying that the strategy I have in mind cannot fail. Your misgivings make sense. What you don't seem to see is that the alternative is so dystopian that for once we have a majority on our side: if you don't want to give refuge to these people, you must step up the mass murder (for that is the word for what the EU does in the Mediterranean). You must have a watertight police state controlling every movement, and not only movement across borders, really every movement. By doing that you would have given in to the fearmongering narratives of the far right, and they will then demand (and get) more. This is rejected by a far greater share of the population than everything else we had to say. In the case of Greece we had to argue against the dogma of 35 years, but now we are arguing in favour of existing humanitarian law, remember.

The humanitarian framework for refugees was created for European refugees, and there were far more refugees then than today. I wonder how many families in Europe there are without a history of seeking refuge somewhere in the last one or two generations? Empathy is very strong.  

I see a chance of leftist proposals being heard and being taken seriously, a chance that hasn't been here for a long time. Because we happen to have valid answers, and the right wing, not. :)

by Katrin on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 04:53:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The "cost of the refugees" is already becoming an issue:

Refugee crisis ′to cost Germany 10 billion euros′ | News | DW.COM | 06.09.2015

According to a report in the Sunday edition of German newspaper, the "Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung" (FAS), financial costs for Germany could reach anywhere between 9 and 10.5 billion euros by the end of the year. The figure is based on cost estimates from local governments around the country.

A refugee summit held by the German parliament in July budgeted 5.6 billion euros for an expected 450,000 asylum applications this year. In light of the recent mass influx of refugees from Africa and the Middle East, however, Germany is now expecting to take in some 800,000 by the end of December.

According to Germany's Federal Statistics Office, 2.4 billion euros were spent on caring for some 203,000 new asylum seekers last year.

by Bernard on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 05:04:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding the 450,000 vs. 800,000, I read in an article somewhere in the German media that even the authorities were guilty of comparing apples to oranges: the first number is for asylum applications, the second is for registered refugees (filing asylum applications takes time if it happens at all).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 06:21:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It has been very instructive to see the example of soft power, the Hungarian border guards were overcome by sheer numbers of unarmed people. Unless they had opened fire on women and children with the eyes of the world upon them their role was revealed as futile.
Orban obviously had no stomach for genocide, thankfully. His threats to give three years prison to illegal immigrants were rightly seen as risible by anyone cognizant of what these refugees have suffered to get where they are, when even a cell and three bad meals is a giant upgrade thus a minor risk from starving behind barbed wire in a camp. As if Orban had that many jail cells anyway!
I see a possible paradox here... Conditions for unemployed youth in Europe are already appalling, you'd think that adding tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of refugees, would be a disaster in the making, (whipped up by the hard right for sure, as we see all around).
But it might work the other way too by forcing issues of economics, employment and ostensible homage to equality into the light, speeding up a possible resolution.
The pathos induced by the young child dead on the sand has shown the power of the media to shame those old white hardline racists on the euro right into holding back on massacres, to bend the rules and allow a human corridor to the only country in Europe which can afford to house and give work to so many needy.
This is also karmic, think how many hundreds of thousands emigrated before WW 2 with the rise of the pogroms in Germany. Those emigrants, along with so many Europeans fleeing poverty, went to make the famous melting pot America became as it rose to its industrial and imperial apex (before selling out the bulk of its manufacture abroad.)
I honestly don't think that under our present political conditions we can give a decent life and honest work to millions of immigrants, unless we radically change our political conditions here, getting rid of the ridiculous arms expenses like Trident and F35s, employing people in a new green economy.
I foresee a possible sea change induced by soft power, sheer numbers that dare the authorities to do their worst knowing they won't have the hardness of heart to do so.
More empathy pictures going viral will accelerate this overdue process. White male privilege sees this sea change as threat, to the rest of the world it's just justice.
It's nice to see Europe doing the right thing for 'foreigners', perhaps this kindness will be extended as generously to its own weak and afflicted, such as the poor in Greece getting strangled by austerity.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 08:44:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scandal of Europe's 11m empty homes | Society | The Guardian

He said Europe's 11m empty homes might not be in the right places "but there is enough [vacant housing] to meet the problem of homelessness". There are 4.1 million homeless across Europe, according to the European Union. Guardian

Freek Spinnewijn, director of FEANTSA, an umbrella organisation of homelessness bodies across Europe, said it was a scandal that so many homes have been allowed to lie empty. "You would only need half of them to end homelessness," he said.

That leaves some flats for refugees then.

by Katrin on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 06:00:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hans Rosling, demographer, on the Syrian refugees:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_QrIapiNOw

20 million Syrians before the war.  12 million have left their homes since, 8 million internal refugees, 4 million emigrated, mostly to Turkey and other adjoining countries.  Only 250,000 have made it to Western Europe.

According to his figures.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Wed Sep 2nd, 2015 at 03:47:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
((*youtube 0_QrIapiNOw))



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 04:36:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Talk of the town: French mayor's 'laboratory of the far right' | World news | The Guardian

In the bullring of Béziers, with 8,000 people crammed into the stands and fanning themselves in the heat, an extraordinary spectacle began. France's most controversial mayor, glancing up at the adoring crowds, solemnly paraded around the ring in an elaborate holy procession following an effigy of the Virgin Mary and a dozen horse riders in flamenco dresses watched over by priests. It was, he said, about reaffirming France's Christian roots.

The vast, town hall-sponsored, public Catholic mass is unheard of in fiercely secular modern France, which has strict laws on the separation of church and state. It caused outrage on the left, which has accused the mayor of turning this picturesque but poverty-stricken Mediterranean town into an increasingly polarised "laboratory of the far right".

Robert Ménard, 62, was once best known as the outspoken founder of the international journalists' group Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which he headed for nearly 25 years before becoming a TV current affairs star. When younger, he held memberships to the Communist Revolutionary League then the Socialist party. But since his shock election in Béziers last year on a far-right ticket, he has become the focal point of a raging debate in France about anti-immigration feeling, diversity and stigmatisation.

...Ménard's view is that immigration is France's real problem. "Our immigration has to stop," he said.

Although elected with the official support of Marine Le Pen and the far-right Front National, he has deliberately stayed outside the party. This leaves him free "to say what I want when I want". But he is an important figure to the Front National. Last year Le Pen's party gained a record 11 mayors across France, but Béziers, with a population of more than 71,000, is by far the biggest town run by a Front National-aligned mayor.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 03:56:09 PM EST
Front National activist on trial for burning cars in small town | World news | The Guardian

A young party activist for France's far-right Front National (FN) has gone on trial accused of setting fire to cars in secret late-night arson attacks in order to complain about rising crime and insecurity.

Adrien Desport, 25, who stood for the FN in local elections in 2011 and once headed communications at a local party branch in Seine-et-Marne outside Paris, appeared in court in Meaux with five others on charges of arson and vandalism, conspiring to commit crime, drug charges and faking an attack on himself.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 05:11:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ménard is trying to be the FN's clown. Unfortunately for him, the French media are all fixated on the real FN's clown car and the pie fight unfolding this WE in Marseille between father and daughter.

Jean-Marie Le Pen Creates New Party | Al Jazeera America

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the expelled founder of France's National Front (FN), launched a new party on Saturday, adding fuel to a family feud that has dogged his daughter Marine's campaign to become president.

The announcement of the new party, to be called "Blue-White-Red rally" after the colors of the French flag, overshadowed an annual gathering of Marine Le Pen's FN taking place in Marseille, three months before regional elections.

by Bernard on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 04:09:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see a clear resemblance between what's happening in Hungary and what's happening in the USA.  So far, to my knowledge, no commentators here have picked up on it although the border wall imagery is obvious.  I've emailed Kim Lane Scheppele of Princeton University who has been writing about the hollowing out of democratic institutions by Fidesz at Paul Krugman's blog from time to time but haven't heard anything back yet.

If it's possible and you are interested, I wonder if you would speak to this issue.  I think it's important as I've been seeing echoes of Fidesz's moves in Turkey, Japan, and other countries.  It looks to me like part of a global backlash, partially in reaction to the Arab Spring, the Indignados, and Occupy, partially the old authoritarian impulse that wreaked such havoc from the 1920s to the 1940s.

Thanks for your reporting from beautiful Budapest.  

PS:  I'm enjoying Tandori Dezső's poetry right now, mispronouncing and misunderstanding the Hungarian on one side of the page and comparing it with the English on the other.  I find him to be highly individual in his style, technical in his use of language in a way I've not seen before.  It's fun getting back to this tongue with such strange vowels, succulent consonants, and complex grammar.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Wed Sep 2nd, 2015 at 03:14:10 PM EST
Those two (they should get married), represent an authoritarian backlash insofar that they stand for a patriarchic system of yesteryear (gilded age to 1950s). A better explanation: they fill the econonomically populist and anti-immigrant / socially conservative quadrant. Which is why Trump is having such high numbers. Both Democrats and Republicans are socially more liberal and economically more conservative than large chunks of the base - thus the Trump fans. Welfare state? 'You earned it! But only if you're a good native.'

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Wed Sep 2nd, 2015 at 04:33:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From Italy:

Report from Brennero, where they wait for the Munich trains and try to board when the agents are controlling another part of the train.

Video from Bolzano of the arrival of the night train from Rome, with refugees on the way to Germany.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 05:52:25 AM EST


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 06:23:16 AM EST
The Czech Republic only allows those refugees free pass who have registered in Hungary, the reason being: Hungary won't accept them back.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 07:44:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of the Czech Republic: you can always trust Václav Klaus to speak up for the worst possible causes.

PM: ČR applies laws, treaties in approach to refugees | Prague Monitor

Former president Vaclav Klaus took issue with Sobotka's remarks.

"If Europe wants to commit suicide by accepting an unlimited number of refugees, let it do it, but not with out consent," Klaus said.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 08:43:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Promote this diary?

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 08:06:55 AM EST
Robert Fisk in The Independent
It's not because they think we're a "soft touch". It's not because they want to scrounge on our generosity. I suspect it's because they know enough about Europe and our history and about us - not our tin-pot politicians or Supermarket Dave or the noisy little Labour raptors who are snapping at Corbyn, but about the Germans and French and Italians and Swedes, and yes, the Greeks and even the Hungarians - and, yes indeed, even the British - to know that we are good people, that we are kind people. I think they know that, deep beneath our carapace of cynicism and materialism and our lack of religious faith, the idea of humanism is alive in Europe and that we can be decent, good, thoughtful, honest people.

The implications of all this are extraordinary. It means that despite our slovenly and cowardly leaders, our crazed Blairs, our Supermarket Daves, our silly Milibands and our crackpot East European Euro-allies, we are an honourable and humane society. I'm not just talking about the Angel of Germany but of the German volunteers, some of them unemployed, who are feeding and welcoming the refugees in Berlin. I'm referring to the 20,000 Hungarians who marched in support of those distraught foreigners who had arrived at our European frontiers. I'm pointing to the French men and women who are helping to feed Dave's "swarm" as they rot in the "jungles" of Calais. I'm thinking of the young Médecins Sans Frontières workers with whom I travelled to the Greek-Macedonian border, who handed out food and water and clothing and kindness to the families from Aleppo and Idlib and Deraa - yes, and from Kandahar and Peshawar - for whom the refugees were rather like three-year old Aylan on his golden beach: for these young Europeans, the refugees were just like us. In fact, "they" were "us".

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 06:24:39 AM EST
I think they know that, deep beneath our carapace of cynicism and materialism and our lack of religious faith, the idea of humanism is alive in Europe and that we can be decent, good, thoughtful, honest people.

Robert Fisk can't know that. They have their cliches about us as much as we have cliches about them.

"Angel of Germany"??? Come on.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 04:16:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"... we can be decent, good, thoughtful, honest people."

America with Fox News and Republicans ... that leaves us out.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 03:47:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Refugees: Europe's Dual Reality | ZEIT ONLINE

Keleti Station in Budapest on Wednesday night. The station's underground level is packed with thousands of refugees, along with their tents, sleeping bags, suitcases and backpacks. It is a gigantic refugee camp with an estimated 3,000 people. The handful of helpers in the Migration Aid Center -- who collect and distribute donations and aid supplies -- are hopelessly overextended. The health and hygiene conditions are catastrophic. Small children and even babies sleep on the floor. This Hungary is supposed to be responsible for the refugees according to the Dublin Regulation? We in Europe talk about safe countries of origin outside the EU? You only have to spend a couple hours in this train station to know that not even EU-member Hungary is a safe country for those seeking help. People from Vienna, located just a two-and-a-half hour drive from here, keep showing up. And each of them has a family with children in their backseat when they return to Austria. It's not legal. But what does that matter? On Sunday, an entire convoy of cars is set to head from Vienna to Budapest. It's clever motto: "Rail Replacement Service."

It's as though there were two realities: On the one hand is scandalous misery and the governments, with their dysfunctional asylum policies and attempts to seal their countries off. On the other is the wave of helpfulness, the uprising of volunteer helpers. The reports and images of people who are doing all they can. Racist agitators and "asylum critics" have been almost completely drowned out. Even completely normal people -- not just those often referred to as "do-gooders" -- are suddenly proud of the fact that their society is presenting itself in the best possible light. Suddenly, it is no longer the good ones who are disheartened and despondent -- for they are giving each other courage in these difficult days. Rather, it is the mean-spirited who have suddenly become quiet. Agitating and standing by as others drown suddenly isn't cool anymore.

The one Europe is failing. And the other is putting its best foot forward.

by Katrin on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 08:29:02 AM EST
Even completely normal people -- not just those often referred to as "do-gooders"
What!?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 08:36:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the German original:

Flüchtlinge: Die zwei Realitäten Europas | ZEIT ONLINE

Auch ganz normale Menschen - nicht nur die, die man gemeinhin "Gutmenschen" nennt -, sind jetzt plötzlich stolz darauf, dass sich ihre Gesellschaft von seiner besten Seite zeigt.

,,Gutmensch" is a term right wingers use in order to ridicule humanitarian efforts as naive and short-sighted.
Gutmensch - Wikipedia

Im Januar 2012 erhielt das Wort bei der Wahl zum Unwort des Jahres 2011 in Deutschland den zweiten Platz. Die Jury kritisierte die aus ihrer Sicht 2011 einflussreich gewordene Funktion des Wortes als ,,Kampfbegriff gegen Andersdenkende".[2] Mit dem Wort werde ,,insbesondere in Internet-Foren das ethische Ideal des ,guten Menschen` in hämischer Weise aufgegriffen, um Andersdenkende pauschal und ohne Ansehung ihrer Argumente zu diffamieren und als naiv abzuqualifizieren".

Kampfbegriff is the next expression that I have some difficulty in translating, though.

by Katrin on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 08:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why don't we start calling anyone who says "Gutmensch" a "Schlechtmensch" or a "Bösemensch"?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 09:09:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good idea. I usually say "Demagoge", but probably the target audience doesn't understand that.
by Katrin on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 09:22:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In English we can do a one-up on Bush the Lesser's "evildoers" and call them "do-evilers" or "do-no-gooders".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 09:31:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Why don't we start calling anyone who says "Gutmensch" a "Schlechtmensch" or a "Bösemensch"?

They would play the victimisation card that they're used to playing.

"Of course I'm bad, according to the tenets of the dominant world view that rejects me as heterodox, and considers the orthodox as good."

In France, nasty right-wingers call Gutmenschen "les bien-pensants".

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 11:00:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Italy they're called 'buonisti', do-gooders.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 09:15:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
droit-de-l'hommistes (copyright Sarkozy?)
by Xavier in Paris on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 09:04:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always say Schlechtroboter. Better a gutmemsch then a bad robot.
by IM on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 06:22:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kampfbegriff, a battle cry? reminds me that the word "slogan" came into English from Scots Gaelic, where it originally meant... "battle cry".

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 10:43:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But in German, the connotation is that you also fight the attacked by re-defining him with the word.

(Another example, from Hungarian: Jobbik speaks of "intruders" instead of illegal immigrants or refugees.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 10:58:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly, the word is a weapon in the battle, not only a battle cry.
by Katrin on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 01:50:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What can I say? "Gutmensch" has actually been used as a term of disparagement in Austria, mostly by the right wing. Doesn't make much sense in English.
by generic on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 08:54:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was mostly reacting to the "even normal people" bit...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 10:47:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Gutmensch" in German has a similar connotation as "activist" in English.
by generic on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 01:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 09:31:35 AM EST
This morning a group of the refugees at Keleti started a march towards Germany. Along the highway:

It's fun that they idolise Merkel (not knowing her government's responsibility for the Dublin Accord which Orbán's Hungary enforced on them).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 10:31:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you know...



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 10:46:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Residency permit extended for refugee girl who Merkel made cry | News | DW.COM | 05.09.2015
Palestinian girl Reem Sahwil, whose story moved Chancellor Merkel to stroke her cheek in a discussion forum, has had her residency permit extended. Her family can now remain in Germany at least until March 2016.
by Bernard on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 05:05:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]

by Katrin on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 03:41:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The offer is exclusively for those refugees who camp out at Budapest Keleti station or who are marching along the highway (even official police estimates range from 800 to 2,500) or along the railway (about 300; all the others on the train stranded at Bicske gave up and were taken to the refugee camp), not for refugees currently held in camps or arriving in the future. The decision was explicitly justified with the need to restore normal transport (there are traffic jams on the highway and trains pass the refugees on one track at 15 km/h, and the subway stations at Keleti were closed off to prevent any more hooligan–refugee clashes). The government also said that now everything depends on Austria: they only promise the refugees to take them to the border, not across it.

According to reporters on the ground, the refugees are incredulous and distrustful – no wonder after the lies and dirty tricks of the previous days.

This decision was taken by an official "emergency committee". For a week, the government didn't feel the need of one. On the day police executed its fateful U-turn at Keleti station, the national police chief was at some government seminar and had no clue. As for the interior minister, he was on holiday and didn't feel the need to interrupt it. Orbán himself was in Brussels on the day of the "end station Bicske" dirty trick. In other words, The Great Hungarian Refugee Crisis is a glaring example of near-total mismanagement – but I doubt many Fidesz voters will recognise that.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 04:37:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They have played the ball neatly into Austria's court then.
by Katrin on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 05:08:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the night, it became clear that Orbán, Faymann and Merkel reached a tripartite agreement.

About 4,500 refugees were taken to the border in 104 buses. Just in time as the autumn rain started during the night.



Austria transported the refugees further on buses and trains.

4,500 is a lot, but for scale: in spite of the border fence, Hungarian police detained over 2,000 'illegal' immigrants yesterday, while in Greece, daily new arrivals are now around 4,000. (The 800,000 annual total number for Germany would mean about 100,000 a month from now on, that's 3,300 a day.)

The refugees marching along the highway were the most distrustful of the bus transport offer: fearing another trick to take them to the Bicske camp, they first boarded only a single bus and waited until it actually arrived on the border, and insisted that a journalist or NGO helper sit on every bus. (The photo below from Instagram shows Index.hu reporter Balázs Pandi in the middle, on board the first bus.)

I find that the international media gives rather incomplete reports of the "last station Bicske" dirty trick, so they don't get the level of the refugees' distrust.

I think one of the many mistakes of the government was to ignore that most of the Syrians are educated people: the police measures and dirty tricks assumed a wild rabble who could only rage against their fate. But these were people who self-organised and informed themselves and each other and created strategy, which proved effective in derailing each government plan even if it was far from the level of professional PR.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 04:16:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find that the international media gives rather incomplete reports of the "last station Bicske" dirty trick, so they don't get the level of the refugees' distrust.

Another small bit on this: at Keleti, the refugees boarding the buses wouldn't accept anything from police, so instead it was a group of punks who gave them water. In the previous days, the punks got the refugees' special attention, the children were especially amazed.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 04:42:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When Hungary, Austria and Germany agreed to open the borders for the refugees, all three governments emphasized that this was a one-off event that won't be repeated. Which IMHO is totally illusory. Indeed right now, the following is going on:

  • Austria already counted 6,500 entrants: that is, in addition to those taken by the government-sponsored buses, 2,000 more arrived travelling on their own. (Or with the help of smugglers. There were three Syrians whom the [Hungarian] smugglers dumped from their cars and robbed at gunpoint, fortunately police found the refugees quickly and managed to catch the culprits.í9
  • There is a trek of a few hundred from a refugee camp near Győr, forced off the highway onto the parallel main road but otherwise not hindered.
  • There is another trek of hundreds who broke out of the camp at Bicske, who were also forced off the highway.
  • Half of the 2,000 refugees at one of the bigger camps in Debrecen (in the extreme east of Hungary) left the camp and travelled to Budapest Keleti by train, joining hundreds more who didn't made it to the buses.
  • Half of the above boarded trains and the first already changed trains in Győr.
  • The other half (mostly younger people) are staging a repeat of yesterday's trek along the Budapest–Vienna highway. In rain. Orbán declared that no further buses will be sent and these people must get off the highway.

The Austria government expects to deal with a wave of 10,000 arrivals. Given that in the previous days, the refugee stream was throttled and what we see is like a dam breaking, an ebbing of the flow by tomorrow can be expected. But with 2,000 crossing the Serbian border each day, methinks any new attempt to close off the Austrian border will only result in a repeat of past week's events. And I suspect this is slowly dawning on the politicians.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 08:36:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it is strange that they believe they can return to the old "Dublin" days. Dublin is toast. Now the more repressive are talking about quotas to distribute refugees. There is a proposal by Gregor Gysi, which I find good: don't distribute humans, let the refugees decide which country they want to live in, just distribute the costs by quotas.
by Katrin on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 09:38:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By now all the treks boarded trains, and police was suddenly cooperative and effective. The Debrecen refugee camp in east Hungary nearly emptied and all travelled on from Budapest, so ebbing I expected is now on.

It hurts to see the level of civilian activism and welcome in Austria and Germany, when compared to that here. Even if local activism picked up dramatically in the last two days (the treks today got help even in the small villages which vote overwhelmingly Fidesz and Jobbik), because those are contrasted by absolutely vile reactions from many many passing people. For example, when a car driven by two old ladies tried to pick up a family with small children which couldn't keep the pace of yesterday's big trek along the highway, the driver of a Porsche with Slovakian license plate [a tax cheat trick] jumped out to physically threat them; two refugees at Keleti got into hospital due to petards thrown by the hooligans; at a nearby park, two girls with the hooligans invited some refugees out so that the hooligans can beat them; at a pharmacy, a refugee with an open wound was sent away.

It also hurts to see that in five days, a rag-tag army of people barely speaking English managed to force the Orbán regime into complete surrender with actions of non-violent resistance, something the domestic democratic opposition couldn't manage in five years.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 06:22:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It also hurts to read that the protest of far-right party Die Rechte in Munich was attended by a grand total of five people, against 200 counter-protesters, and an earlier protest by the same was disrupted by a state TV moderator who mocked the chief neo-Nazi for arriving on a not at all German Toyota. Meanwhile in Budapest, Jobbik held a rally, while state TV kept up its demonisation of the refugees till the end, constantly complaining about their stench (seriously, what do they expect from people who couldn't wash themselves for a month?).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 07:05:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I highly recommend you watch this nine-minute video. Shot by the Index.hu journalists who joined the trek along the highway, you can hear some of the heroes of Friday in their own voices.

The subtitles are in Hungarian but all the interviewed speak English. The one part where there is a lot of Hungarian and some Arabic is from 5:00 in, that's when the buses arrive. The man in red jacket explains that the first six buses won't stop because they will pick up the trek along the railway tracks (the one from the train stopped at Bicske) because they are in even worse health. Later the two Syrians in yellow baseball hats debate whether to board the buses or avoid another trap by walking on. Later the Hungarian interpreter relays the demand that all bus drivers confirm in front of cameras that the buses are really going to the border.

Also, for example the shot of the guy at about 1:05 is priceless.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 06:44:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Impressive.
by Katrin on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 01:50:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And now in English on YouTube:

The comments have already been swamped by trolls.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 05:43:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And now the Austrian Facebook-organised convoy meant to break thew law about helping the escape of refugees is en route to Budapest. Altogether 251 cars.

Who will be whom they'll pick up at Keleti station? Most of the few hundred refugees currently there are Afghans and Pakistanis who didn't buy a train ticket out of uncertainty about their situation: they know Germany made an exception about the Syrians.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 08:17:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd have thought one learns some kind of realism by living months or years as a refugee. In an interview some time ago, a young migrant from sub-Saharan Africa said he wanted to go to Europe to be a professional footballer. Really? Maybe you need something to hold onto if you're going through that kind of hardship.

The Good Mother Merkel?! For heaven's sake...

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 04:24:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a young migrant from sub-Saharan Africa said he wanted to go to Europe to be a professional footballer. Really?

I don't get why you find that strange.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 04:42:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Granted, he was still a teenager. But old enough for his chances at professional football to be zero. I imagine he had to grow up more quickly than others of  the same age. But he was still too innocent or ignorant about that part of reality.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 04:50:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But old enough for his chances at professional football to be zero.

How would you know that? Did he say what level of training he had earlier?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 04:19:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French clubs are full of African teenagers. The best become professionals, and their immigration status is regularised. But even for those who never become pros, the clubs are a powerful vector of integration.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 04:55:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since then, a freight train each was shunted to both sides of the refugee train, to hide it from journalists. This probably helped the escape...

At Keleti, police allowed a conflict predicted for days to happen: football hooligans (gathered from all over the country for an international match against Romania) attacked the refugees, throwing petards. But a large number of refugees quickly assembled and fought back.

Meanwhile, the standoff between police and the c. 500 refugees tricked to board a train yesterday which was stopped near a refugee camp had a new twist: a group of 50 ran out of the train and started walking west along the rails.

Meanwhile, after a standoff with police, a group of 300 refugees broke out of the chronically over-filled refugee camp at the Serbian border (at this camp human rights NGOs weren't allowed in to check conditions).

Meanwhile, an Austrian initiative launched a few days ago gathered steam: more than 2,000 volunteered to drive in a convoy to Hungary and pick up refugees (if executed, this would be a mass violation of laws against aiding illegal immigration).

Meanwhile, another good news: after days of reporting chronically short supplies, the NGO aiding the refugees at the railway stations said that their storerooms suddenly got full.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 10:55:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 10:53:04 AM EST
I can't find an English source for this yet, so I'm paraphrasing via reports in Hungarian:

Croatia's PM signalled readiness to settle 5,500 refugees according to Juncker's new quota plan. At the same time, he spoke up against Orbán's threat to build a fence along the Hungarian–Croatian border, too. He told Orbán is wrong to claim that Muslim hordes are endangering Europe's Christian values, instead, the situation is just that people come in hope for a better life for which they are ready to die. These people aren't enemies, and the border fence won't helpe because people will just go around it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 11:21:57 AM EST
This is going to put a big strain on Schengen.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 01:03:13 PM EST
The Real Refugee Crisis Is In The Future - Raúl Ilargi Meijer - Automatic Earth
... But the essence remains that Europe doesn't want a real solution to the crisis. ... The only solution Europe wants is for the refugees to miraculously stop arriving on its shores.

... it needs to call subsequent meetings at the highest levels to look at the future of this crisis. Not doing this guarantees an upcoming disaster the scope of which nobody can even imagine today.

The media focus on a truck in Austria where 70 human beings died, .... These reports take away from the larger issue, that there are dozens such cases which remain unreported, where there are no camera's present and no human interest angle to be promoted that a news outlet thinks it can score with.

Brussels and Berlin must throw their energy and their efforts at ameliorating the circumstances in the countries the refugees are fleeing. ...

The desperation of millions of human beings, manipulated by traffickers and by terrorist groups is also an instrument of disintegration of the countries of origin and of destabilization of the host countries.

It is estimated that sub-Saharan Africa will have 900 million more inhabitants in the next twenty years. Of these, at least 200 million are young people looking for work. The chaos of their countries of origin will push them further north.

That is the future. It will no more go away by itself, and by ignoring it, than the present crisis, which, devastating as it may be, pales in comparison. Europe risks being overrun in the next two decades. And as things stand, it has no plans whatsoever to deal with this, other than the military, and police dogs, barbed wire, tear gas, fences and stun grenades.

This lack of realism on both the political and the humane level will backfire on Europe and turn it into a very unpleasant place to be, both for Europeans and for refugees. Most likely it will turn the entire continent into a warzone.

The only solution available is to rebuild the places in Syria and Libya et al that the refugees originate from, and allow them to live decent lives in their homelands. If Brussels, and Washington, fail to realize this, things will get real ugly. We haven't seen anything yet.

Too apocalyptic for my taste but yes this is the 'new normal'. The record of the EU at 'nation building' isn't good (see Kosovo). So how are going to 'save the world' in all kinds of places?

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 03:53:34 PM EST
Victor Orban Fascist Fool.  He looks really good strutting in front of his mirror.  Then reality strikes and it's chaos.  Mr. tough guy on TV is revealed as having no clue what to do that will work. Even Reuters is mocking him.
by Rolfyboy6 (rolmsted@hawaii.rr.com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 05:07:10 PM EST
Half a year ago, Orbán began his anti-immigrant campaign with focus on the West European xenophobe slogans about the job market threat and different culture of would-be immigrants. Now his propaganda had to face the obvious that the refugees don't want to settle here, just want to pass through, hence he told (when rejecting the West Europeans' similarly hypocritical quota call) "not one of them want to stay here" and "it's Germany's problem". But, again, I wonder how many of Orbán's faithful supporters realise the glaring contradiction with the earlier rhetoric.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 04:27:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe there's hope for Christianity in Germany yet. The muslims are converting.
Er kam als Mohammed, er ging als Martin: So wie Martin Ali Zonoobi, ein Flüchtling aus dem Iran, konvertieren in der Evangelisch- Lutherischen Vereinigungskirche in Berlin immer mehr muslimische Flüchtlinge zum Christentum. Vorwürfe, sie wollten damit nur ihre Chancen auf Asyl verbessern, weisen sie entrüstet zurück. Und auch Pastor Gottfried Martens bestreitet das: "Das sind maximal zehn Prozent, die danach nicht mehr zu mir in die Kirche kommen."

[...]

Während den christlichen Kirchen die einheimischen Gläubigen davonlaufen, kommt Pastor Martens in Berlin mit der "Arbeit" kaum nach. Waren es vor zwei Jahren insgesamt 150 Moslems, die evangelisch werden wollten, sind es in den letzten Wochen bereits 600, die den Halbmond mit dem Kreuz tauschen wollen. Auch die lutheranische Kirche in Hannover und die im Rheinland melden ähnliche Zahlen. Martens: "Ich habe weitere 80 Gläubige, die auf der Stelle zum Christentum übertreten wollen."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 02:10:48 AM EST
Trying to break the Postillon's monopoly on this sort of stuff, I see.
by Katrin on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 05:53:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It won't happen in Israel. The government has refused requests by "infiltrators" (Hebrew for asylum seekers) to convert to Judaism.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 07:22:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a different issue though. Israel ties residency rights to Judaism. The Krone claims the equivalent was true in Germany and Norway, which is nonsense, of course. Apparently the readers of that quality paper find this credible, and that is depressing.
Hunderte Moslems konvertieren zum Christentum - In Berliner Kirche - Welt - krone.at
Der Grund, obwohl nicht offen ausgesprochen, ist klar: Gläubige Christen haben bei den Behörden bessere Chancen, als Flüchtlinge anerkannt zu werden. Fanatische Moslems müssen warten.

They have never heard of humanitarian law, obviously. Recognition as refugee depends on whether people are persecuted in their own countries. The reason of this persecution may well be their religious affiliation, but that is the only role religion plays here. A conversion to increase the chance of getting asylum might make sense for citizens of countries that punish leaving Islam (officially or socially), but then, so would openly embrace atheism.  

And that's the crowd that knows for sure what a threat to western civilisation (if only) these "swarms" of refugees are.

Another amusing detail is that the Krone tells their readers that baptism constituted a change of name. Mohammed enters the church, is baptized, and leaves as Martin, they "report". What?!

by Katrin on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 07:30:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is an account from the border (starting with the arrival of that first bus with people from the highway trek). Someone unexpected saw the same historical parallel I saw:

Flüchtlinge in Ungarn: In Bussen nach Österreich - taz.deRefugees in Hungary: In buses to Austria - taz.de
Grenzstation Nickelsdorf in dieser Nacht. 39 Fliehende steigen um 2.32 Uhr aus einem weißen Bus aus (Video auf Twitter und weiter unten). Die ungarische Polizei kontrolliert nicht ihre Papiere. Kurz hinter dem ungarischen Grenzposten stehen einige österreichische Bürger. Sie rufen ,,Welcome". Einige Meter weiter, am Kontrollpunkt von Österreich, warten Polizisten. Sie winken die Menschen freundlich heran. Dann bieten sie ihnen Tee an und Verpflegung. Die Fliehenden können es nicht fassen: Sie sind tatsächlich in Österreich.Border station Nickelsdorf that night. At 2:32 o'clock, 39 refugees get off a white bus (see video on Twitter and further below). The Hungarian police doesn't check their papers. A short distance behind the Hungarian border markings, some Austrian citizens are standing. They call "Welcome". A few meters further, at the Austrian checkpoint, policemen are waiting. They wave the people to come in a friendly manner. Then they offer them tea and meals. The refugees can not believe: they are actually in Austria.
Um Punkt 4.50 Uhr herrscht Gewissheit. Dutzende weitere Busse erreichen Nickelsdorf. Hunderte Menschen sind nun angekommen. Sie werden in Österreich empfangen, mit Bananen und Wasser, mit Decken, Kleidern und Schuhen. Über Stunden hinfort werden noch weitere kommen, am Ende einige tausend Menschen. Ein Polizist blickt auf einen der ankommenden Busse. Er hat Tränen in den Augen. Er sagt: ,,Das ist wie 1989."At exactly 4:50 o'clock there is certainty. Dozens more buses reach Nickelsdorf. Hundreds of people have now arrived. They are welcomed in Austria, with bananas and water, blankets, clothes and shoes. For hours, more will arrive, by the end thousands. A policeman looks at one of the incoming buses. He has tears in his eyes. He says: "This is like 1989."


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 08:50:20 AM EST
Why unexpected? I should think the parallel is striking. We are at a point where one cannot help but sense that a lot is changing suddenly. The old order is crumbling rapidly. People are somewhat stunned and don't know what is coming. They aren't Hobbesian monsters though, giving in to their fears. Most welcome the newcomers, and are prepared to show solidarity, and hope that the change will be for the better.
by Katrin on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 09:29:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he meant that the unexpected was a policeman saying this, not the comparison itself.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 09:44:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the V4 have strongly come out against the current kind of migration. The Slovakian PM (a left populist no less) said something about not wanting to have to integrate people "from a completely different culture and religion" while they "can't even integrate their own Roma". Hungary is building the wall, maybe later at the Croatian border too. Will the refugees take the way via Slovenia or Romania? Is Orban desperate enough to build a wall to Romania as well while exiting Schengen?

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 06:38:00 PM EST
Yep, the V4 leaders are a bunch of assholes close to or (in Fico's case) on par with Orbán. Though, the target countries are hypocritical with their quote demand: they don't consider what the refugees want and why (the new start they want won't be in a crisis country, nor one where their foreign language knowledge is of little help, while relatives and friends already in the target country would be help), and seem to want to distribute based on population (in contrast the distribution within Germany is based on tax income of the states).

Regarding the border fence/wall, as I wrote, the fence already built is useless to stop the refugees: still over 2,000 pass it a day, contrary to Orbán's earlier claim that it will reduce the stream to a sixth or seventh. Most walk in along railway tracks where there is a gap by necessity, others scale or cut the barbed wire and still others are taken by smugglers. It remains to be seen how the regime will manage this failure obvious to everyone (even my pro-Fidesz colleagues).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Sep 5th, 2015 at 06:57:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pope calls on every European parish to host one migrant family each | Reuters

Pope Francis called on Sunday on every European parish and religious community to take in one migrant family each in a gesture of solidarity he said would start in the tiny Vatican state where he lives.

"I appeal to the parishes, the religious communities, the monasteries and sanctuaries of all Europe to ... take in one family of refugees," he said after his Sunday address in the Vatican.

...There are more than 25,000 parishes in Italy alone, and more than 12,000 in Germany, where many of the Syrians fleeing civil war and people trying to escape poverty and hardship in other countries say they want to end up.

A few days ago, the cardinal of Hungary was asked why the Catholic Church won't take in any refugees. His answer: because it would break Hungarian laws against "illegal residence". As if his church would hesitate protesting laws it doesn't like. Now the cowardy hypocrite will have to answer further questions... (At least there was one monastery which still took in refugees.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 08:24:33 AM EST
Majority of British for Brexit for the first time
51% supported a Brexit while 49% were against it. Undecideds where counted out. ... In the July survey 45% were for staying in the EU, 37% were for leaving, 18% undecided. In the current poll 22% of EU supporters said they could change their opinion if the refugee crisis worsens. Statistically a toss-up since the difference is in the margin of error.
Germany's response to the refugee crisis is admirable. But I fear it cannot last - Doris Akrap - Guardian
But the refugees haven't time to wait for "us" to work out whether Dublin III or Schengen need to be overhauled . The breakdown of these agreements is already happening.

But as the Germans share their bread with the refugees, Angela Merkel made clear in her speech on Monday that she won't accept Italy, Greece or Hungary not pulling their weight and opening their borders. She also made clear that all the refugees from the Balkan states will be sent back immediately, as they are not in need of protection.

As a child of a "guest worker" who grew up in Germany in the 90s, I can't claim to be completely impartial about this debate. Phrases such as "Germany can't take all refugees in the world" or "They can stay, but do they really need an apartment on their own?" give me the creeps. I hear them from conservative politicians. I hear them from colleagues and friends, none of them racist.

... But when I listen to the "good Germans", I often ask myself: what is going to happen, when the new refugees demand more than a tent, a bottle of water and a slice of bread? How will German society deal with this next turning point? What if it turns out that not every refugee has the skills to equip them for the "made in Germany" brand? ... Or will "Willkommen" be just a slogan on the doormat again?

If the scenes of this summer are repeated next summer then there will be a backlash: 'We did our part, now close the door - the air coming in is too cold!' Sweden is the only country with a clear majority for taking in more refugees and that will change too.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 10:59:39 AM EST
Let's go two steps further in your prediction. After the backlash you expect and the attempt to "close the door" that would follow, what reaction do you expect to the inevitable failure to stop the migration wave?

Myself, being pessimistic, I won't exclude apocalyptic scenarios. On the other hand, I can also see another kind of backlash: all these "not racist" "Germany can't take all refugees in the world" people getting a dose of reality, and falling silent not because they lost their concerns or suddenly began to like foreigners but because they recognise forces greater than they can control.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 12:46:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We'll go through all the motions (without the highly-armed border patrol vigilantes like in the Southwest of the US). When the backlash has played itself out hopefully the refugee stream will have reduced itself to a trickle like in the US 2007. Otherwise, the border protection regime will grow harsher, a sizable segment in central European society will keep harping about illegal immigrants maybe not enough to win elections but enough pull things to the right. Like in the Euro crisis the simmering resentment will be most dangerous. And Schengen...

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 01:15:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For that matter, are you making these predictions as an uninvolved spectator, or is there some action you are recommending (to forestall or mitigate your prediction)?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 12:53:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As someone with 'Migrationshintergrund', I have more than an average interest in preventing xenophobia from settling in the mainstream. Aside from the measures needed to integrate the refugees already here,
  • Massively hike contributions to UNHCR because they are severely underfunded. It's so much more effective and less life-threatening.
  • Likewise massive support for the Italian, Greek, and Turkish governments. Something that should have been done years ago but now is a good time as ever to throw them some money.
  • Make a decision in the Syrian war. If Assad needs to be helped to victory to stop IS so be it. Or find some other way.
  • This is minor: later on, Merkel will have to come out and just say that people shouldn't pay thousands and risk their lifes to make the trek. I know desperate people will ignore that and I know that it won't go well with her current image as a benevolent mother and our image as the current 'world champion of humanitarian relief' but you can't leave out the signaling. There are push factors and there are pull factors. Between those are the cold sea and barbed wire.
  • And for heaven's sake pass an immigration law. They should have done it in the early nineties but "we are not an immigration country!" was the tenor in the CDU. Maybe they have learned a bit by now.


Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Sep 6th, 2015 at 01:48:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
just say that people shouldn't pay thousands and risk their lifes to make the trek

Would Merkel suggest Russia?

Tajikistan's Russian Dream | Foreign Affairs

Since the end of the Tajik civil war in 1997, Tajikistan has sent an increasing number of migrants to Russia. Most of them are men, and they now number over a million, or around 50 percent of all of Tajikistan's working-age males. These workers take odd jobs all over the country: some join the fishing crews off of the Kamchatka Peninsula; others sell food and knickknacks as street vendors in Moscow; most make their living in urban construction. It is hard to overstate the importance of the wages they send home. Indeed, Tajikistan is, as measured by share of GDP, the most remittance-dependent country in the world: at the equivalent of 47.5 percent of its economy in 2012. Between 1999 and 2013, this money helped lower Tajikistan's poverty rate from 96 to 36 percent.
by das monde on Mon Sep 7th, 2015 at 03:26:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why not.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 02:49:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe is apparently a strong preference for the relatively civilized, educated. Ask Greece, for example.

Speaking of Greece, the situation on Lesbos has its extreme, the Aegean as well.

by das monde on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 03:17:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Summary of today's developments : France and the UK have apparently decided that getting serious about the refugee wave means attacking its causes.

And have leapt to the following rather dispiriting conclusion : to encourage Syrians to stay at home, it is urgent to ... bomb Syria.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Sep 7th, 2015 at 11:28:48 AM EST
France considers Isis strikes as Hollande calls for engagement on refugee crisis | World news | The Guardian

France will begin reconnaissance flights over Syria with a view to carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State, President François Hollande has said.

He blamed the group for the refugee crisis in Europe as well as a number of terrorist attacks carried out in France and other countries. However, the French leader ruled out sending ground troops to Syria and said nothing should be done that could strengthen the country's leader, Bashar al-Assad, or help him remain in power. "In the end, Assad must go," Hollande said.

So there is no strategy for any definite outcome, much less commitment (which would need ground troops). In other words, he still believes that real problems can be combated with PR (even if deadly PR).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Sep 7th, 2015 at 01:00:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... thats nuts.  I mean, stopping the refugee flow by killing the people causing it is perfectly reasonable logic-of-force, but adding on "And no ground troops" to that plan.. Not so much.
by Thomas on Mon Sep 7th, 2015 at 02:42:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But there are ground troops helping Assad against IS. It's just that they are Russian ones.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 7th, 2015 at 04:17:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't that yet a rumor?
by IM on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 04:30:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More than rumours. The most compelling evidence is similar to the initial evidence for presence in the Ukraine: social media postings by soldiers. According to Spiegel, there is a plan.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 04:51:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm informed, on Twitter, by a Siberian late of this parish, that most of the refugees aren't Syrian at all, with the subtext that this is all building a pretext to attack Assad. He had this information from the TV news, and it reads to me as an attempt to minimise the effects of the Syrian conflict.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 06:47:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One effect of the special treatment of Syrian refugees was a black market for stolen or fake Syrian documents, and another that some non-Syrian refugees throw their papers away to claim being Syrians without papers. This was used by the official and non-official xenophobes not just in Hungary to put the refugees under general suspicion of being fake Syrians. Maybe that's what led to the TV news referenced by the Twitter post you saw.

A similar line of "reasoning" (one also echoed by the bishop of the border region in Hungary in his negative reaction to the Pope) claims that refugees cease to be refugees and become economic migrants when they leave Turkey.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 06:40:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reported in the SZ.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 06:57:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian:
However, the French leader ruled out sending ground troops to Syria and said nothing should be done that could strengthen the country's leader, Bashar al-Assad, or help him remain in power. "In the end, Assad must go," Hollande said.

"In the end, the war must go on"

And the war, not IS or Assad or Al Nusra or alleged moderates or kurdish militias, is what most people are fleeing. In general, it is when a side advances that people - who were living on the land where the advance is going on - flee, so more should right now be fleeing the Assad government then IS. To stop the war either one side needs to win or there needs to be peace conferences with all involved parties in Syria. To get to a peace conference the backers in US, Russia, Turkey and Saudi arabia needs to agree on a need for peace.

by fjallstrom on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 03:58:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Today before lunch, I had enough of 'politics' (meaning: hate speech) at the workplace and had a half-hour shouting match with my colleagues. I'm still seething... One of them tried to mend ways afterwards by revealing that one day he arrived at home, his daughters gave him two bags full of toys to give to the refugee children at Keleti. Unfortunately, his bouts of humanism aren't longer than that of Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 7th, 2015 at 12:49:51 PM EST
Syrian refugees in Hungary: 'This is the so-called developed Europe?' | World news | The Guardian

Mouti and his friend Fadi, an auditor, have come from Deir Ezzor, a town contested by Islamic State and the Syrian regime. "Both of them are bombing each other," he says, "and we were stuck in the middle."

Twenty-five days later, they have arrived in the EU - but it doesn't feel much better. They are surrounded by a line of policemen and their eight children are getting sick. Fadi's brood includes an eight-month-old son, and two boys aged four and five. They all have colds after being forced to stay here overnight.

"We're coming from Daesh," says Fadi, using the pejorative Arab term for Isis, "and this is how Europe treats us?"

To underline the point, a group of protesting refugees have held up a sign that reads "Daesh = Hungary", and some of them are chanting: "Freedom". It's just like the situation in Syria, smiles Shoukry, a steelworker from Aleppo. Even in such a depressing situation, there is time for a bit of gallows humour.

The misery of refugees is usually hidden comfortably behind the barbed wire of refugee camps (not just in Hungary – everywhere). The situation at Keleti got critical because local commuters and all the Western tourists arriving by train could see the misery. Now it is exposed again because of the continued lack of proper preparation to handle the refugee masses (a new camp was opened two days ago near Röszke and it was filled up real quick, as it was for 1,000 only, hence the authorities' inability to take these people anywhere). Now that the cold season arrived, I fear there will be preventable deaths due to lung diseases...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Sep 7th, 2015 at 01:24:44 PM EST
So yesterday I was talking about the underfunded UNHCR relief effort.

UN agencies 'broke and failing' in face of ever-growing refugee crisis - Guardian

Click on the link to see the complete graph. The first bar is the request of the UNHCR for $2.89 billion for the Syria regional response plan, of which $0.9 billion have been funded. If some European governments had had the foresight (yeah I know), they would've just filled out the rest long ago which would've been that much cheaper. Bygones, but it's not too late to make a difference.

If you have some Euros to spare make a donation. Either through the worldwide UNHCR website or (to get the tax deduction) through the websites of the national offices:

France

Germany

Italy

Spain

Great Britain

USA

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Mon Sep 7th, 2015 at 02:12:50 PM EST
Could you put this in a diary so I can put it on the front page?
by Bjinse on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 08:17:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I posted the diary with a correction: http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2015/9/8/143712/3433

There are $2.89 billion left outstanding. So the total is $3.8 billion.

This should be a no brainer, left or right. If you don't want 'too many Muslims to come here and blow up Christendom', make a donation so that they're less likely to come. If you don't like to see people drowning, cut up by razorwire, and suffer in miserable camps then make a donation. This could be a good play for your Fidesz colleagues, Dodo.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 02:43:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Done, and thanks.
by Bjinse on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 02:56:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When Angela Merkel speaks, Refugees listen - Mohamed Amjahid - Tagesspiegel
What happens if Merkel [...] says that Germany allegedly opens its doors and welcomes refugees? What happens when pictures of citizens who welcome refugees at German train stations?

[They] use social and classical media. They also know what Orbán says. To understand what kind of suction effect this new way of political communication creates, you have to look at what the other heads of government say.

...If refugess talk that Germany practically doesn't send Syrians back to Hungary they just take the chancellor at her word.

In other news, we have headlines of Sigmar Gabriel (the Hardy part of our Laurel and Hardy government duo) saying that Germany could take up to 500,000 a year. I know he probably didn't mean it that way but I feel my heart sinking. No we can't, idiot! Stop talking! Such streams of refugees have the ability to seriously mess up a society. Ask some Syrians, Sigmar. They know best how a refugee crisis (Iraq, the long drought) can blow up a country. Public and political opinion in the UK and not just there is rather dismissive of Germany's stance. It's described as naive and 'hippie', all heart and no brain. I hate to say that there is some truth to it. And as in any case the polity here will need some years to recognize what happened and by then major damage will have been done.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 03:12:28 PM EST
"No we can't, idiot! Stop talking! "

why not?

"Public and political opinion in the UK and not just there is rather dismissive of Germany's stance."

Not a very high autority, I think.

by IM on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 04:05:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because I don't think it's particularly healthy to grow a permanent underclass in society. But of course it depends on what kind of standards are applied.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 04:18:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what have refugees to do with a permanent underclass? especialy with the permanent part?
by IM on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 04:27:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I explained it up-thread. Low paying service sector jobs are the first port of call when you don't have a job lined up beforehand. There we'll have wage deflation simply because of supply and demand. Given how our system is rather bad at advancing people beyond the class they were born into (and the upper-to-middle class will do everything to keep it that way), this creates the potential for a sizable underclass. The more the merrier. This obviously wouldn't be that big of a problem if say, 80,000 came per year. But 800,000/year for a few years lands you in trouble. Also, let's just say it: race plays a role as well, not just being from the 'wrong' class.

Sure there will be success stories. But the downtrodden will go uncounted. Inequality will increase. The End.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 04:45:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps the increasing numbers in the underclass you mention will eventually contribute to changing the class imbalance. This is probably why Germany is so open to middle class Syrians, but afghans and pakistanis not so much.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 04:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany, i.e. the interior ministry, is open to Syrians because it's an active, massive warzone (everyone's a Syrian now at the border). Afghanistan and Pakistan have 'lower intensity' wars that don't engulf the whole country. Middle class or not doesn't matter when asylum requests are evaluated.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 04:59:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the Syrians arriving now are skilled or highly skilled. Methinks you are too pessimistic.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 04:53:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The barriers to entry such as the language, the German fetishim for the right certificates, the long period before you're allowed to work, are there even for the highly-skilled. And we don't know that it's just an exodus of the intelligentsia. Most likely, with the high numbers, it's a representative cross section of the whole of Syria.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 05:07:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The overwhelming majority of Syrians in the interviews I read were intelligensia, unlike the Afghans and Pakistanis.

The difference between the Syrians and the Afghans shows another way: the Syrians tend to have money to spend (at Keleti some could buy their own food) and that also shows in the speed at which they arrived (one interviewed claimed less than a week, most a little under a month of which a lot was waiting), while I read several Afghans telling about superlong walks. I read of Syrians coming from refugee camps in Turkey, one abandoning an exploitative black market job in Istanbul, but most came directly from Syria (after being internally displaced or directly from home). It seems most people in the hungering refugee camps in Turkey either don't have even the level of funds those Afghans had or don't yet have the same level of desperation to walk most of the way.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 05:36:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Typically refugees need a lot of money to get that far, and they need a knowledge of other countries, and a certain adaptability that is learned by dealing with information. The uneducated don't have all that, that's why they are usually stuck very near to their old homes.
by Katrin on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 03:23:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Emphasis on "usually": those Afghans walking thousands of kilometres are usually uneducated.

Meanwhile, I read another interesting article (in Hungarian) that gave a new insight on why most of the current wave doesn't come from the refugee camps in Turkey, in spite of the worsening situation there. The journalists travelled around the border, interviewing dozens of refugees both in and out of the camps. All of them seem to be hoping that eventually the situation will normalise in Syria and all but one wanted to return home (some even thought going to Europe is outrageous). I am thinking (this wasn't in the article) that one reason is that the Syria they left behind was less hopeless and destroyed than the Syria left behind by those emigrating now.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 06:52:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The barriers to entry such as the language,"

not so hard for young people

 "the German fetishim for the right certificates,"

true.

 "the long period before you're allowed to work,"

three months?

by IM on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 04:02:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of all, I despair at the complete lack of strategy, the inability of the government to think even one step ahead. Today those jokers are congratulating themselves because they coughed up €6 billion to take care of refugees. Hannelore Kraft (SPD, prime minister of Northrhine Westphalia) says it won't nearly be enough. Next year, probably long before that, the mood will cool down rapidly. The internal EU bickering will continue while xenophobia festers. People will come down from their moral highs, look at each other, and wonder what we've bought into. Germany is not that special and enlightened. In the long term I fear a 15%-25% right wing movement settling in.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 04:32:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" In the long term I fear a 15%-25% right wing movement settling in. "

Haven't heard much of the AfD recently.

by IM on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 04:04:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They threw their liberal founder out and are now free to pursue a right-wing agenda. They'll probably make it into the next Bundestag at slightly above 5%. Long-term I see those tendencies growing. Not that it produces a political majority but a persistent undercurrent that produces a right-ward drift.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 01:39:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed the UK is anything but a reference:

How does UK refugee commitment compare with other countries? | News | The Guardian

The UK prime minister, David Cameron, announced on Monday that Britain would take 20,000 Syrian refugees over the course of this parliament. The refugees will be relocated from the camps on the borders of Syria. Here's a look at the UK's plan in context.

...It is equivalent to 0.03% of the UK's total population, and 0.4% of Britain's migrant population.

...Munich welcomed 20,000 refugees last weekend. The German city received 13,000 refugees on Sunday alone - more than the total number of asylum seekers the UK has received so far this year.

...The differences are also clear if we look at the totals on a per capita basis. The UK received 188 asylum seekers per 1 million of its population over the first six months of this year. During the same period, and on the same basis, Sweden received 2,974, Germany 2,116 and France 485.

...There are 4 million Syrian refugees displaced in the Middle East, according to UNHCR data - more than 10 times the number in Europe.

The UK's plan to relocate 20,000 of these 4 million people means that it will be relocating 0.5% of the current total over five years.

(That about 20,000 in Munich is not entirely true BTW: it wasn't the only arrival point and the arrivals have been re-distributed across the entire country.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 04:43:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK government/public act like asshats. But it doesn't mean the assessment is completely wrong. No good deed goes unpunished. This is another issue that is accelerating the disintegration of the EU.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 04:54:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The assessment isn't based on real experience and is instead informed by four decades of tabloid scare-mongering, thus it is entirely authoritative, and the reference to the UK took away from your own argument.

I submit it is a valid point that Gabriel's declaration might boost the migration wave further, even if we might differ about the magnitude. But, more importantly, I think there are other factors which reduce its significance:

  • You are right to emphasize the role of communication in creating a snowball effect, but IMHO the strongest part is not what politicians say. In the dozens of interviews with the refugees I read, when telling about the target country, almost every single one mentioned some relative or friend who already made it there. Unlike the comments of politicians, which most of them know only in the most superficial second- third- and n-th-hand form, what personal acquaintances say is direct and detailed.
  • Meanwhile, there is another public opinion to address: the German one. Up until now, large parts were oblivious to the task of absorbing 100,000 a year, and it will be much more this year whatever Gabriel says. I think quite to the contrary of what you say, this time Gabriel was looking ahead and wanted to make a large refugee influx the new norm in people"'s minds.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 05:18:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thus it is entirely authoritative

entirely unauthoritative.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 05:40:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sun, Daily Mail and whatnot have their part to play. But it's not like the UK (as a former colonial power and EU member) has had no experience with migration and refugees.

Regarding your first point, it's true that people tend to go where they have connections. Yet, how did the connections get there in the first place? It just tells me this mechanism will exponentiate the problems for the countries that have the lowest barriers.

I think the majority of people have caught up and know the numbers that are tossed around now. What they won't hear (or don't want to accept) is that this is the new normal for several years ahead. Most of the time nobody takes what dumbo Gabriel says seriously. Politically, there's an inevitable domestic confrontation coming towards us. I already see the rumblings in newspaper comment sections. This is bad. Those voices don't have to be the dominant voices in the general debate. Voting is a very quiet activity.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 05:10:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's not like the UK (as a former colonial power and EU member) has had no experience with migration and refugees.

The UK certainly had an experience with third-world and post-colonial immigration on par with France or Germany, and had perhaps the biggest influx of intra-EU immigration after the eastern expansion of the EU, but the conditions are a bit different if we speak specifically about refugees.

this mechanism will exponentiate the problems for the countries that have the lowest barriers.

Isn't this a triviality? Refugees will target the lowest barriers, duh.

What they won't hear (or don't want to accept) is that this is the new normal for several years ahead.

And that's what Gabriel's declaration countered, whether he is being taken seriously or not.

I already see the rumblings in newspaper comment sections.

The rumblings in the newspaper comment sections as well as other on-line forums was quite visible and quite the topic before Hungary opened its borders, also on ET. Those voices were the dominant ones until the post-Heidenau backlash, which showed them to be a minority. It doesn't have to stay a minority (see Hungary...), but the fight is on.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 07:04:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Calais mayor 'disgusted' by UK policy on refugees | World news | The Guardian

Natacha Bouchart told parliament's home affairs select committee that David Cameron had shown contempt for the people of Calais after he said an offer of asylum for 20,000 refugees would not extend to those people who had already arrived in Europe.

"I am disgusted by that. Understand the position we've been in for the last 15 years. If he doesn't take refugees from Calais, that is proof that he is contemptuous of the population in Calais," she said.

Nearly all of the migrants gathered in her town wanted to go to the UK, Bouchart said. "They demonstrate every day outside the town hall. Every day myself and my deputies say to them ... if you want to stay in France you must claim asylum," she said.

"Less than 10% want to stay in France. All the others want to come to England and we are going round and round in a circle. Even if we opened up 50,000 places in France they would not claim asylum in France."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 05:23:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While many Western journalists without war zone experience were shocked by the situation at Keleti station and broke rules of journalistic non-intervention by buying supplies or providing electronic help (re-charging batteries, WiFi, lending phones), a Hungarian 'journalist' (a young woman to boot) had a different attitude:

Hungarian nationalist TV camera operator filmed kicking refugee children | World news | The Guardian

A camera operator for a Hungarian nationalist television channel closely linked to the country's far-right Jobbik party has been filmed kicking two refugee children and tripping over a male adult at the border hotspot of Rőszke on Tuesday.

Petra László of N1TV was filming a group of refugees running away from police officers, when a man carrying a child in his arms ran in front of her. László stuck her leg out in front of the man, causing him to fall on the child he was carrying. He turned back and remonstrated at László, who continued filming.

A 20-second video of the scene was posted on Twitter by Stephan Richter, a reporter for the German television channel RTL and soon went viral, leading to the creation of a Facebook group "The Petra László Wall of Shame".

Hungary's leading news website Index had also caught László kicking a young girl and boy.

N1TV said László had been dismissed due to "unacceptable behaviour". The channel's editor in chief Szabolcs Kisberk said in a statement posted on the station's website: "The camerawoman's employment has today been terminated with immediate effect, the case is now closed for us."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 05:00:06 PM EST
"The camerawoman's employment has today been terminated with immediate effect, the case is now closed for us."

Get that camerawoman's resume to Fox News ... instant employment ... with a promotion.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 09:39:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Katrin on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 06:21:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Sky News, who have a long history of hiring sociopaths masquerading as journalists and technicians, welcomed the young camerwoman to the 24-hour-news station, stating that she will "fit right in" at their headquarters in London."

Take that, Onion!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 07:00:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The birth of his cartoon was inevitable:



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 07:22:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The father with child in hand tripped by a camerawoman reached Germany:

In case you missed that news, the man was identified as the former coach of a first-division football club in Syria, who was tortured by government troops for participating in a protest and fled later when IS entered his town.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Sep 12th, 2015 at 07:05:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 10:38:10 AM EST
And what about trains from Denmark to Sweden?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 10:49:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They stopped trains and ferries.
by Katrin on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 12:46:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, apparently the traffic between Denmark and Sweden is normal. Railway connections between Germany and Denmark completely closed, and they don't say how long.

I wonder. Is that a message or are they really so scared?

by Katrin on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 01:07:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The authorities are flailing and hardly know what to do. Refugees are intentionally not seeking asylum in Denmark, but instead trying to pass to Sweden.

Mixed bag from this side:

  • Police in Malmö has arrested suspected refugee "smugglers" while "smugglers" are organising quite openly on facebook to drive and pick up refugees in Denmark.

  • Danish minister claimed that negotiations has started with Sweden to void Dublin to let refugees through.. Swedish government denies any negotiations and claims Dublin rules are in effect. Meanwhile, PM Löfven has meetings with Merkel to form some kind of nucleus for a European deal.

  • The state railway company has declared that they have lifted their demand on identity documents for tickets if (and only if) you are (or rather look like) a Syrian refugee. Personal tickets, in effect a demand for identity documents was introduced a couple of years ago because the ticket price system was so complicated that the few who got it could buy cheap and sell for a fixed price online, and apparently turn a profit. Introducing an understandable pricing system must be unserious.

  • Large demonstrations in many cities pro-refugees. Attempts - mostly failed - from politicians to place themselves in front. People want concrete action, not vague promises.

  • Spontaneous organising to welcome refugees and get them a place to sleep in Malmö.

  • Huge increase in volonteers to host refugee families in Gothenburg.
by fjallstrom on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 03:29:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"PM Löfven has meetings with Merkel to form some kind of nucleus for a European deal."

Funny. While those two and Juncker are harping on about a quota system for the amount of refugees that come in the space of two weeks, the rest of the EU are doing everything to block it or receive just a token number of refugees. This is 'EU solidarity' in action. Only in this case Germany and Sweden are on the receiving end of it.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 04:40:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Alternatives » Denmark: report from a closed Schengen border

Jackson Oldfield is a Senior Project Manager at European Alternatives, overseeing the Citizen Rights programme. He was denied entry into Denmark from Germany due to his British passport.

In his State of the Union speech yesterday, Jean Claude Juncker outlined his plan for EU member states to take in 120,000 extra refugees. Angela Merkel warned it might not be ambitious enough, the UK's David Cameron distanced itself from the mechanism, deciding to take a paltry 4,000 extra Syrian refugees a year, and the media kept criticising the ever criticisable Orban.

But, while overshadowed by Juncker, Merkel, Cameron and Orban, an equally divisive, dangerous and disturbing power play was unfolding in Europe's north: Denmark closed it borders. Or rather, it closed its borders to all but its citizens and residents and the residents and citizens of its nearest neighbours - Sweden and Germany.

This is both a personal and impersonal account - I should say I too was one of those travelling from Germany to Denmark yesterday, but with the wrong passport (British) - but actually this is not an individual or isolated situation, but rather one that challenges the whole idea of the European Union and something we should all be concerned about.

Why do I say this? First, the closure was apparently in response to Juncker's plan for refugees. The Swedish Government requested that Denmark stop letting asylum seekers directly through to Sweden and asked Denmark to instead process asylum claims in Denmark, in accordance with the Dublin rules. In a country where non-Danes have faced stigmatism from official sources for over a decade, the logical solution in the un-logic of xenophobia was for Denmark to close its borders.

by Katrin on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 05:44:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU is now a giant pinball machine.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 03:32:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Re your sig line, I think Schengen doesn't matter: there is a border domino in this refugee crisis and the re-imposition of intra-Schengen borders will only result in more dominos falling.

  • The first domino was the border between Turkey and Greece. Already three years ago, Greece built a border fence. This only resulted in two things: most migrants took the sea route, and Turkey ceased any efforts to control departures. Greek refugee camps over-flowed, and Dublin III was voided for Greece.
  • The next domino was Macedonia, where the scandal-ridden and aggressively autocratic government decided to send down the army a few weeks ago. This only resulted in a log-jam, and the crowds broke through.
  • The next domino would have been Serbia, but Serbia was greatly angered by Hungary's border fence, so it is providing free passage now.
  • Everyone saw how the next domino, Hungary, fell.
  • Should Austria re-impose border controls, the refugees and smugglers will be able to spread out along a winding 366 km section of the former Iron Curtain, with lots of woods on hilly terrain and almost no rivers to cross. Methinks that domino would fall rather quickly.
  • The border of Germany and Austria is a bigger challenge, being mostly high mountains or wide rivers. But closing this border might result in refugees massing at a few border crossings, resulting in situations like at Budapest Keleti.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 03:55:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha, the CSU would love to impose some tough measures against refugees and close the borders. That would prevent tourists from enjoying the mountains though, and the CSU voting rural population working in tourism might object... Quite a dilemma.
by Katrin on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 04:37:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Especially with Oktoberfest coming up....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 04:51:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oktoberfest und Refugees - ,,It could get crowded"
The Oktoberfest begins in one week but what happens when thousands of Wiesn visitors meet hundreds of refugees in the central station?

... Coordination work is still done mainly by Bavaria. The effort is enormous it is said repeatedly. Hopes for another hub in Germany have been balked. A spokesperson for the police says that they are "irritated" that no other place is doing the coordination work. It's a "strenuous effort" he says that cannot be sustained over months.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 10:24:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If that is right (I think you're right), then it's virtually guaranteed that significant nativist, anti-foreigner tendencies will settle in. 'If we're not in charge of our own borders, who is?' To some degree I can understand that because it's a fundamental question of national sovereignty.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 10:32:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migrant crisis: Germany 'to start border controls' - BBC News

Germany is to reintroduce some form of controls on its border with Germany to cope with the influx of migrants, German and Austrian media report.

It is not clear what measures would be introduced.

More than 13,000 migrants arrived into Munich alone on Saturday. Germany's vice-chancellor said the country was "at the limit of its capabilities".

Germany's Bild newspaper and Austria's Kronen Zeitung said controls would be in place on the Bavaria-Austria border.

They are excited at the BBC, apparently. They mean the German/Austrian border, of course.

by Katrin on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 10:32:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And what are they going to do with the people they catch? Keep them in Salzburg and Kufstein?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 10:38:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Salzburg is the solution Expose them to the Festspiele and they turn back in horror.
by IM on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 11:19:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interior minister de Maiziere explained the measures in a press conference this afternoon.

by Katrin on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 12:03:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More de Misere:

Flüchtlinge: Deutschland führt vorübergehend Grenzkontrollen ein - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Laut de Maizière stehen die Maßnahmen im Einklang mit den Vorschriften des Schengener Grenzkodex. Sie seien notwendig, um zu einem geordneten Verfahren zurückzukehren. Zudem seien sie unabdingbar zur Aufrechterhaltung von Sicherheit und Ordnung, so der Innenminister. Die große Zahl der Flüchtlinge überfordere die Aufnahmekapazitäten.

Der Bundesregierung geht es vor allem darum, Zeit zu gewinnen. Die einzelnen Bundesländer brauchen Luft, um den großen Andrang überhaupt noch logistisch zu bewältigen. Vor allem Bayern ist davon betroffen, aber auch Nordrhein-Westfalen, wohin zuletzt Zehntausende Flüchtlinge weitergeleitet wurden. Die Entscheidung soll aber auch ein Signal an die Flüchtlinge sein, nicht überstürzt nach Deutschland aufzubrechen.

Gleichzeitig gibt es Überlegungen, auch Bundeswehrsoldaten zur Grenzsicherung einzusetzen. Sie würden dann in Amtshilfe der Bundespolizei unterstellt und als Hilfspolizisten eingesetzt.

by Katrin on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 12:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The first part sounds like what they've been doing for months at Rosenheim.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 06:21:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 04:41:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 11:07:48 AM EST
What hypocrites, after months and years of hate speech against refugees.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 06:42:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migrant Influx May Give Europe's Far Right a Lift
"Germany, Sweden, and Austria deserve great credit for their willingness to accept refugees, but elsewhere on the Continent the reaction ranges from passivity to outright hostility," said Michael Haltzel, a visiting senior fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs who advised Joseph R. Biden Jr., now vice president, when he served in the Senate. "There is a considerable danger of overload. And I fear that the political beneficiaries in many countries will be right-wing ultranationalists."

...[Former prime minister] Bildt, of Sweden, says ... "But we have to find a coherent European response. Controlling the outer border of Schengen is vital to the system," he said, referring to the passport-free zone within Europe. "It is uncomfortable but necessary, and it needs to be done."

Migrants who survived shipwreck are grateful but disillusioned

Talks about some survivors of a shipwreck at Lampedusa. After suffering a horrible journey most of them advise their friends and families back home not to take the same route. Of course they don't listen.

A New Wave of Migrants Flees Iraq, Yearning for Europe

In recent weeks, the phenomenon has snowballed, as Iraqis track migrants on messaging apps like Viber and WhatsApp and hear back from friends who have reached places like Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel has welcomed migrants and has become a hero to many Iraqis. The stories Iraqis hear from relatives in Europe are often euphoric, and full of possibility.

"When you go to Europe, they treat you well, they give you a house, they pay you money, they take care of your health," said Ali Hattam Jassim, 37, whose brother recently arrived in Belgium. "We have so many friends there, and they tell us how great the life is."

At an anti-government demonstration in Baghdad they carried huge banners of Merkel as an example of 'good governance', threatening to leave. This is fucked.

German Quota System Highlights Possible Path and Pitfalls for Handling Crisis

So far, Germany has not had much success persuading its European partners to adopt a similar quota system for the whole of the European Union. Resistance to the proposal, and in many countries to the migrants themselves, ranges from outright hostile, like in Hungary and other parts of Eastern Europe, to a more polite but equally hardened insistence on the right to "opt out" of such quotas, in Britain and Denmark.

The poorer Eastern European countries argue their societies cannot handle the burden of integrating thousands of largely Muslim refugees, and others insist that any system will just encourage more people to risk the hazardous trip to Europe.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Wed Sep 9th, 2015 at 05:39:09 PM EST
Migrant Influx May Give Europe's Far Right a Lift - The New York Times
Even in Sweden, he noted, which has been the European country most open to Syrian refugees and asylum seekers, the anti-immigration, anti-European Union Sweden Democrats are now ahead of the two largest parties in the opinion polls with about 25 percent

Just want to point out, that this was in a single Yougov poll. And Yougov does not start with getting a population sample, they rely on people registering for their web panel and supplying the correct information so that they can pull a sample from it. That makes it both statistically unreliable and vulnerable for coups.

The other polls has the Sweden Democrats around 18%, which is bad enough.

I don't think the current refugee crisis will benefit the Sweden Democrats though. The last week has shifted the focus away from the Sweden Democrats vs the rest of the parties to pro-refugee groups vs the government, which lands the Sweden Democrats on the sidelines.

by fjallstrom on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 04:16:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree. I've been using the trains on Austria's Westbahn daily and haven't heard a single complaint about the refugees.
Which doesn't mean that the low faculty racists have disappeared but it does mean that they don't expect anyone to agree with them and so keep their drivel to themselves. In the case of Greece you couldn't go a week without hearing someone share his theory about why they are such fuck ups in a too loud voice.
by generic on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 05:34:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Katrin on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 06:20:18 AM EST
A little clarification: the photos show two sites. At Röszke, there is a proper camp (the one with tents and surrounded by barbed wire atop a 3-metre fence, where people have no names just numbers), and there is a plot of land with almost zero infrastructure where the refugees are gathered and have to wait long hours before being taken to refugee camps. The proper camp is bad enough already, but the makeshift gathering point is absolute scandal.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 07:31:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 08:34:38 AM EST
Tick tock
According to a poll, the majority of Germans is unsatisfied with the crisis management of the federal government. 64% think that its handling of refugee policy is "quite bad" or "very bad", as a survey of Emnid for TV channel N24 says. Participants were asked Wednesday after the new measures by the coalition were presented.
Strength without Rigour - FAZ
... it referred to the lesson that Germany wants to teach Europe. That has a lot to do with feelings but little with politics. Is there force in the German strength to propel Europe forward? In what direction does Germany want to "pave the way", as Merkel said?

It goes to show how weak Germany's position is in Europe into which it maneuvered itself -with noble intent- when Denmark stopped rail traffic from Germany and closed off a highway. ... The closure ... was a warning shot not only from Copenhagen but also from Stockholm. It happened one day after the Stefan Löfven visited Merkel in Berlin. What did he say to the chancellor? "We can do it!" - ? Certainly not.

... [Her speech] included the sentence that "economic refugees" don't have a place in Germany. ... How is this immigration consistent with the assurance to regulate immigration according to the needs of the host country? How does the chancellor intend to follow through? The administration is not even capable of processing the flood of asylum requests and especially not able to reliably let consequences follow when they're denied.

... the federal government is unable to process asylum requests within three months or -like in other countries- even faster. That is urgently necessary if Europe is to have a functional asylum and immigration policy. That things can't go on like this is apparantly only believable if Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) says it. To draw consequences from that would require not only courage and strength, it would require toughness.

A few posts up we where talking about the AfD.

Alfa and the refugee crisis - Come with me to the adventure land - FAZ

The AfD demands that asylum only be requested in German embassies or refugee camps. The Alfa party founded by Bernd Lucke [former AfD chief] has fanciful solutions too.
Most fanciful of those ideas: send blue helmets to carve out safe havens in conflict zones. But of course the German army should be exempted.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 05:14:50 PM EST
Regarding the 'smooth' transition of those 'highly-qualified' refugees into the local job market: here we have Andrea Nahles (federal minister of employment), an avowed leftie saying things like "The Syrian doctor is not the average case." and that not even ten percent can be directly hired. At best there is going to be a medium term transition, at worst, well I don't want to think too much about it since the flood is not receding.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 05:28:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's wrong with a medium-term transition? At a minimum, even the skilled have to learn German. And Nahles is rather pragmatic about the re-training.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Sep 11th, 2015 at 05:01:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The longer you're unemployed the higher the probability that it stays that way. The outcome after years of whatever programs they throw you into: a less than solidly middle class experience. Retraining is very expensive and it didn't work so well after reunification for all those East Germans who at least spoke the language.

Nahles says pilot projects for fast integration into the labour market have failed for the vast majority. She proactively said that unemployment will be higher next year. This is all starting out rather well...

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Fri Sep 11th, 2015 at 05:54:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Retraining is very expensive and it didn't work so well after reunification for all those East Germans who at least spoke the language.

The main East German problem was lack of jobs, not lack of skills. And difficulties in re-training is a tendency of demographics under-represented among refugees, especially the current Syrian ones (older workers, the least skilled workers, alcoholics).

Nahles says pilot projects for fast integration into the labour market have failed for the vast majority.

Where did she say that? Not in the linked article.

She proactively said that unemployment will be higher next year.

And she said that won't be the result of failed labour market policies but the sign that there is an on-going task [of re-training].

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Sep 12th, 2015 at 01:34:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
right-wingers whine, sun rises in the east.
by IM on Fri Sep 11th, 2015 at 09:42:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hippies party, sun sets in the west.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri Sep 11th, 2015 at 05:55:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hippies? are you an time traveling reactionary from 1967?
by IM on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 09:31:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The ZWST (Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der Juden in Deutschland) has been helping Syrian refugees. They are popular for a reason you probably didn't guess.
"This [immigration counseling] is an open offer for people coming to Germany with the will to stay here," said Günter Jek, who coordinates the ZWST's intake centers. All of its counselors speak German and Russian, and some Syrians, along with some other potential immigrants from Middle Eastern countries, seek out the ZWST with the help of Russian-language skills learned during higher education abroad.

"Funny as it is, Syrian refugees visit Jewish counselors because they speak Russian," said Jek.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Sep 11th, 2015 at 03:07:51 AM EST
Interior ministers of German states: "You open the borders and desert us!"
The words emergency and crisis are not to be used. But the interior ministers agree across party lines: the situation is dramatic, the refugee processing system in Germany is maxed out.

The hardship of the crisis workers increases daily and the atmosphere grows more irritated. The interior ministers admitted: we are at the limit. Five telephone conferences were conducted between Thursday and Friday, the mood was loud, irrascible, ...

"Are we agreed that we have reached our limits and soon cannot receive refugees anymore?" asked a participant on Thursday after some gruff arguments. No one dissented. Worse yet, an official said "We are flying a plane that's running out of fuel and we don't know what to do."

The states are under the impression that the federal government opened the door for refugees with much publicity but are left alone to deal with the consequences. "You open the borders and desert us!" a participant angrily accused state secretary Emily Haber. She admitted "a new situation" after Austria let the refugees pass. Angry herself, she countered "You are responsible for sheltering."

That is factual but doesn't help. The assessments of the last two days were disastrous.

  • Only two states had spare capacities. 850 in total. The 14 other states said they were full.
  • Compared to the 40,000 people expected this weekend, the capacity currently being created is minimal. Brandenburg ... 50 and 100 spots... Hamburg 150 spots and Niedersachsen 300.
  • Hessen and Schleswig-Holstein complain about trains full of refugees that drive without warning towards Frankfurt and Kiel.
Addtionally, there are disquieting news from abroad:
  • In Greece between 2,000 and 4,000 people go from the islands to the mainland. Registration is practically suspended.
  • UNHCR is counting 40,000 refugees at the Serbian-Hungarian border.
  • The Greek-Macedonian border is crossed daily by 7,000 people.
  • The Bavarian interior ministry reported that Austria has lost control. A "coordinated effective handover from Austria" is no longer possible.
  • The German embassy in Afghanistan was said to have reported there were signs that the government issued a million passports that would enable travel to Europe.
In public, officials strive to avoid words such as "chaos", "emergency" or "catastrophe" for the current mess. No one wants to endanger the support by thousands of volunteers.

... Army has built 16,000 spots ... much more not possible.

... States are not only lacking spots and decision makers. A lot of cities can't adequately supervise under age refugees... fast communication about the routes of the migrants are lacking. "If we can't handle this crisis then Europe will fail" says deputy CDU parliamentary group leader Thomas Strobl.

If the registration procedures are so chaotic or noneffective then I fear we'll be getting another long-term political poison pill. If people don't bother to register and just go to their friends and families first then we'll have the specter of the 'illegals' as a permanent political force in this country, just like 'economic refugees = moochers'. In the US it has made a rational political discussion about immigration reform impossible for decades. Even now it's a goldmine for orange-haired Donaldo Trump.

If the coming cold doesn't deter people much, then expect the EU ministers to throw their hands in the air and close down borders.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Fri Sep 11th, 2015 at 10:52:25 PM EST
The Bundeswehr provided room for 14,500 refugees within a few days, and there are plenty of former barracks for more. The Spiegel must have missed that somehow.  After all, 800,000 persons this year, though a very huge number, shouldn't be a too great problem for a nation of formerly 80 million which is rapidly shrinking and additionally has a shrinking army.
by Katrin on Sat Sep 12th, 2015 at 11:02:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What we have here is Bundesländer and municipalities clamouring for more money from the federal level. They are right of course.
by Katrin on Sat Sep 12th, 2015 at 11:05:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, if you think long-lasting open air festivals are fun.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sat Sep 12th, 2015 at 01:00:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't quite understand what an open air festival and empty barracks should have in common, but both are certainly preferable to life in Syria's warzones. My point is that there is plenty of accomodation, if we really want. Aren't you perhaps exaggerating the pessimism stuff a bit?

During the last days, when I read one pessimistic post after the other from you, I started to wonder, what sort of a response you would wish? How would you wish people to respond to the inflow of refugees, and what role for the left would you wish in this response?  

by Katrin on Sat Sep 12th, 2015 at 01:20:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Refugee homes in Brandenburg - there are no more usable barracks - Tagesspiegel. But that's just Brandenburg. The idea of using empty barracks was already widely circulated last year.

It's not an endless well. Then what? It's also less than ideal for integration purposes. Spending months in overcrowded barracks, waiting for a life-altering decision can seriously mess you up.

A little digression: Due to current events Alon Levy wrote about "Cities and Immigration". At the end of the post he describes Sweden's ultimately wrong decision about the refugee housing problem. Either provide housing in already built-up areas at high cost, which would've posed a political vulnerability due to the dysfunctional housing market or put them up in cheap deindustrialized areas like Malmö which is also problematic since there are no jobs. It ultimately led to the ghettos we see today. So soon, lest the German government repeats the mistakes of the Swedish government, we will have an acceleration in rent increases which won't make many people happy. The idea to commandeer houses will certainly piss off other people too. The problem will be compounded if this year's deluge is repeated.

Count me as the pessimistic, misanthropic leftie, who likes to be pleasantly surprised, if you will. The role of the left is not to distribute teddy bears or chant "Refugees welcome!" till Christmas. That just makes the problem objectively and politically worse. The left has to show that it can actually handle this in the long term and not just have some warm fuzzy feelings for the short term and then go back to their cleanly middle class lives while refugee homes are lit on fire. Bring some control back into the situation (I forgot - the lefties are out of government) and a rational immigration policy. The answer to neonazis is not to do the complete opposite just because. More refugees are not the answer. Otherwise, the NSU terrorists that were born out of the refugee crisis of the nineties will have even nastier successors.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sat Sep 12th, 2015 at 02:47:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" A little digression: Due to current events Alon Levy wrote about "Cities and Immigration". At the end of the post he describes Sweden's ultimately wrong decision about the refugee housing problem."

Interesting article, but he does not describe what you say he describes. The article is about immigrants, not refugees. Though there are similarities, there are very large differences too, and what we are talking about is refugees. People who can judge the danger of crossing the Mediterranean in a leaky dinghy perfectly well--and know that the journey is less dangerous than a walk around the block at home in Syria. They will come to us, no matter how many fences. All the fences increase the risk for the refugees, and the profit for the smugglers, but the refugees will come. Can you please suggest how you wish the European reaction to be? And what demands and actions you wish the left to make?

The very high inflow these days needs emergency accomodation. I quite agree that empty barracks in the middle of nowhere and the like are not suitable for a months long stay, but then it has been German practice to place refugees in accomodation in the middle of nowhere. I am not sure that this is the moment to intensify the criticism of this policy. I have always supported campaigns to let refugees use normal flats, and not to use mass accomodation (which was introduced to "deter" refugees anyway). Just now I support using every inhabitable shelter anywhere for the short term.

" The role of the left is not to distribute teddy bears or chant "Refugees welcome!" till Christmas. That just makes the problem objectively and politically worse."

What, worse?! Could you explain why?

The role of the left should not be restricted to distributing teddy bears or chanting, but both are still quite useful activities to extend solidarity to human beings in need, and to create a counter narrative to the "swarms" or "floods" narratives of dehumanisation.  

"More refugees are not the answer."

Then tell me what to do with the refugees who are coming. Fences or the sea don't keep them out. What do you want to do with them, quite practically, I mean? If you want to deport them, how? They will resist, after all they have nothing to lose. Is that really your dream of a left movement demonstrating how a world of solidarity, justice, cooperation can work instead of the neoliberal world of competition, inequality, confrontation that we must live in?

"Otherwise, the NSU terrorists that were born out of the refugee crisis of the nineties will have even nastier successors"

The NSU terrorists had nothing to do with a refugee crisis, and everything with the loss of economic security. Contact with refugees (or other immigrants) reduces racisms, because then they are perceived as persons and not as an anonymous mass. Another argument in favour of campaigns of teddy bear distribution.

by Katrin on Sat Sep 12th, 2015 at 05:05:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin:
to create a counter narrative to the "swarms" or "floods" narratives of dehumanisation.  

That is a vital function above all.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 02:04:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The people who enthusiastically go to central stations with teddy bears don't have to be convinced that refugees are people. Or do they? This article is actually funny:

Migrants in Germany - Finally Welcome! - Candan Six-Sasmaz - Süddeutsche

Candan Six-Sasmaz was born in Germany. Suddenly she is greeted with applause and teddy bears at a train station - before her fellow citizens want to bring her to a refugee camp.

As a journalist I'm on the road often. ... As soon as I descended the steps from the station platform I heard applause... this joyous welcome was apparantly directed at me.

... "Welcome Refugees!!!" Huh? Oh, okay. I understood. Obviously I just arrived on a train with refugees. Embarassed, I looked around again. But I didn't see any Syrian...

I turned my blushing face down and rushed down the stairs. Still accompanied by applause and cries of welcome. Are they laughing at me or with me? I just wanted to get away. But four men ... greeted me kindly: "Selam Aleyküm. Welcome in Germany!". Without thinking I answered "Aleyküm Selam." Big mistake. Because then it was no question whether I was a refugee or not. I was.

... He explained something in a language I didn't understand ... I finally understood that he tried to talk in English. I tried to explain to him that I wasn't a refugee. First in English, then Arabic, and finally in German but in vain.

My words were lost in the screaming and jubilations. The people were crowded around me. They pushed sandwiches, drinks, and teddy bears into my hands. Apparently, the first thing a refugees needs on his arrival in Germany is a teddy bear. While generously giving me their presents they looked at me expectantly. They were waiting for the the light of gratitude in my eyes. Instead I could only give them a disappointed frown.

The volunteers pulled me somewhere else... When I tried to break free he just strengthened his grip... he began to speak German very loudly and slowly. Why do people believe that one can suddenly understand a foreign language as long as it's properly enuciated? I was to be registered and brought to a temporary shelter... They also talked about me as if I wasn't there: "Poor thing. She looks totally exhausted."

I started to panic... Again and again I tried to explain: "I am not a refugee!" Nobody listened. ... Desperately I thought "You idiots", then I said: "You fucking idiots!" Well I screamed it. But it helped.

Finally they were quiet. Finally they looked at me properly. ... I showed them my German ID. We apologized to each other.

... Worse, as a Turkish-German I had never been treated as well as on that day when they thought I was a Syrian refugee.

... I console myself with the knowledge that this love is just a passing fancy.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 09:27:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite funny story, and right: people who enthusiastically go to central stations with teddy bears don't have to be convinced that refugees are people. They are convincing a lot of people to copy their teddy distributing behaviour and thus take visibly a stance, though. And both groups are setting a new normal. Suddenly the perception no longer is that there is a "flood" of millions coming. The perception is that there are exhausted families coming who have lost everything, even their kids' teddy bears. Human beings who need help.

Are you going to answer my other questions too? What would the left's reaction be, if we behaved with exactly the wisdom you want us to have? What do you want us to do, apart from stopping to distribute teddy bears?

by Katrin on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 10:06:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The left has to get it in front of the problem instead of dwelling on the human interest romance. That will only get us so far. I linked to Alon Levy's blog post because it is very much relevant to the situation today. Immigration and asylum are de facto conflated because that is what's happening. Something that the legislation of the nineties was supposed to keep apart but is failing today. Most refugees will stay. Indeed most of the asylum seekers who have been denied still stay. We have an asylum system that is neither very humane nor very stringent. Likewise immigration is handled in a hotchpotch, non-transparent, and non-strategic way. The left has to find a workable alternative that doesn't scream 'Open borders for everyone' before the usual dark nativist dynamics set in. What's happening now will not work.

Also, even if it is received opinion that fences never work, fences will be built regardless and sometimes they do work (enough). So it's useless to harp on about them.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 12:08:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The left has to find a workable alternative that doesn't scream 'Open borders for everyone'

a strawman if ever there was one.

So it's useless to harp on about them.

And still you harp and harp and harp....

by IM on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 12:14:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
epochepoque:
The left has to find a workable alternative that doesn't scream 'Open borders for everyone' before the usual dark nativist dynamics set in.

Nobody is screaming that. Nobody is demanding open borders. What I demand is respect for the right to asylum. Must I really remind you that it is a human right? That there is no doubt that the Syrians who make it to us come from one of the most horrible war zones of the world? They are entitled to refuge. Are you demanding the abolishment of this human right? Alterations to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights? The Geneva Conventions? Do explain, please. Are these the demands that you want the left to make?

epochepoque:

Also, even if it is received opinion that fences never work, fences will be built regardless and sometimes they do work (enough)

Yes, the Iron Curtain was fairly efficient. Do you propose to re-erect it? Is making this proposal what you expect from the left? You think the left should demand all that?

by Katrin on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 12:25:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I demand that those relief efforts are squared with the realities of limited resources so that as many people as possible can be helped and the people most in danger are prioritized. If you say that people from war zones are to be given refuge no limits -and we know there are millions of them- and since our 'European partners' don't have much appetite to share the responsibility then that is effectively an open border policy. At least for the upper- and middle-classes that according to what is said here can afford the trek.

Anyway, we're running in circles here (as usual in a leftwing debate club). Facts on the ground have overtaken the discussion and my pessimistic predictions are coming true. Germany has reintroduced border controls to Austria.

We can't do it after all - Süddeutsche

On Sunday the government made a spectacular u-turn and thereby admitted: "We can't do it after all." For the chancellor it is a political miscalculation that she had yet to commit during her ten years in office. For the nation it is the beginning of an intense political fight. And for Europe the message is: Germany has understood that it can't revolutionize the EU's asylum policy on its own.

... The collapse of the registration of refugees in Munich, the refusal of more solidarity even from other German states: the darwinism of impositions has reached Germany. The double morals that were diagnosed in the rest of Europe long ago have seized the country that created a mirage of a welcoming culture in the many refugee camps from Syria to Pakistan. No, Germany could not be open for everybody because the sheer number of refugees wouldn't have placed an excessive financial but a social burden on the country.

... [The border] controls therefore have a symbolic character. They are the German version of a message that France, the UK or Hungary are transmitting in some brutal form or another: we can't and don't want to shelter everyone. That is the hard lesson of the refugee crisis: heart and reason can't be brought in line.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 03:29:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
epochepoque:
If you say that people from war zones are to be given refuge no limits -and we know there are millions of them- and since our 'European partners' don't have much appetite to share the responsibility then that is effectively an open border policy.

Well, our European partners are just getting another overdose of partnership: the suspense of Schengen is nothing but pressure on them. It's not true that we "can't do it". We just want the solidarity of our dear Mediterranean partners, who surely can't have any reason to lean back and just watch the refugees go to Germany, right?

I am afraid, you have become a victim of scaremongery. Giving refuge to  those who flee war is not the same as open borders. UN researchers estimate that about 3 million Syrians will seek refuge in the EU in the medium term. Add to this Sudanese, Eritreans, and those whom our governments seem to hate most: Roma fleeing discrimination in the Balkan countries, and we are talking of about 5 million persons who have to be integrated into the EU of 500 million citizens. 85% of all refugees worldwide remain in developing, mostly very poor, countries, and it is a shame that Europeans show less solidarity with refugees than they do. And you expect that the left supports the unsolidaric way.

I note that you do not mention that granting refuge is not optional: you are advocating to abolish a human right. You are convinced that "there is not enough for all of us" and support a cap on human rights for financial reasons. Soory, your human rights for this year are used up. The same principle can (and will!) be applied to health care very soon, I guarantee you. And to pensions. And who demanded it? You. And you complain that a " leftwing debate club" doesn't follow you.

by Katrin on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 04:44:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Democracy, human rights are cracked. Refugees or common EU citizen, they are just pest for the elites, no? They knew it all along what is coming, or what they started. "Integration" to harsher rat race for meager cheese is just fine for them. Whatever resource shortage, they will be the last to downsize.
by das monde on Mon Sep 14th, 2015 at 06:20:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I demand that those relief efforts are squared with the realities of limited resources so that as many people as possible can be helped and the people most in danger are prioritized.

But at the moment we are far from resource limits for anything save rail transit. As far as I can see taking in about a million people would also only conflict with artificial limits like the Euro financial structure. Germany has what? 2 million empty flats? Also I would submit that the strength the far right can draw from refugees scales very weakly with their number since contact with refugees seems to actually decrease racism.

I'm still very pessimistic. While the wheels are definitely coming off the bullshit train our great leaders seem genuinely unable to deal with it. And in this case they usually default to short sighted misanthropy. Merkel opened the borders in a complete reversal of earlier policy since this was becoming a PR problem for her (#merkelstreichelt), now she reverses course again. All the while we hear about plans to bomb refugee boats, everyone involved in the Syrian war...
Local activism can only compensate for official incompetence up to a certain point. After that will become necessary to throw the European Council into Mount Doom.

by generic on Mon Sep 14th, 2015 at 11:18:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel's reversal was a sop to the CSU. And it is a typical non-action action: policemen say that the measures don't limit the refugee flow in practice (no one is turned back to Austria), it's just a waste of manpower for a political show.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 14th, 2015 at 02:35:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the NSU terrorists that were born out of the refugee crisis of the nineties

That's a quite tall claim. This is something the CDU/CSU right who absolutely refuse to see any responsibility in themselves would murmur amongst themselves, but do you have any evidence?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Sep 12th, 2015 at 07:12:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding Sweden, his argument is nonsense. He includes both Malmö and Stockholm suburbs in the category with no jobs, leaving the reader to wonder where - if market rents were introduced - the refugees would settle. Central Stockholm?

Refugees and immigrants has a hard time finding jobs because of the mandatory unemployment policy and them having the weakest position. Ignoring that and blaming it on the housing is just a plea for his favourite housing policies.

And no, it is not racism that prevents the government from repeating its 60ies and 70ies policies for massive building projects. Those projects benefitted both poorer Swedes and immigrating Finns, Yugoslavians and Italians, just as building cheap housing today would benefit both poorer Swedes and immigrants.

by fjallstrom on Mon Sep 14th, 2015 at 02:38:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When Merkel opened the borders, the assumption was that Keleti station and the refugee treks will get to Germany but then the borders will be closed again. As I wrote back then, this was totally unrealistic. Consequently, neither Austrian nor German authorities prepared sufficiently (though they prepared much better than Hungary). Now they will have to deal with it, however much the interior ministers whine.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 12th, 2015 at 01:41:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Varoufakis in FAZ
Ein Land jedoch ragte heraus und bewies moralische Führungskraft in dieser Angelegenheit: Deutschland. Der Anblick Tausender von Deutschen, die unglückliche Flüchtlinge willkommen hießen, welche von verschiedenen anderen europäischen Ländern abgewiesen worden waren, war etwas, was man würdigen und woraus man Hoffnung schöpfen konnte. Hoffnung, dass Europas Seele nicht gänzlich verschwunden sei. Kanzlerin Merkels entspannte Führung in dieser Sache, die großzügige Haltung selbst der sonst so misanthropischen deutschen Boulevardzeitungen gegenüber den ankommenden Flüchtlingen korrigierte Europas Versagen angesichts der humanitären Krise.

[...]

Aber lassen wir das griechische Drama mal beiseite. Europa braucht die moralische Führerschaft Deutschlands. In der Flüchtlingsfrage erleben wir sie - und sie ist ausgezeichnet. In der Frage, wie mit der Krise der Eurozone auf lange Sicht zu verfahren sei, gibt es keine deutsche Führungskraft - im Gegenteil, die deutsche Regierung hinkt den Entwicklungen hinterher und schreitet nur in letzter Sekunde ein, um die Symptome zu bekämpfen, nie jedoch die Wurzeln.

Was soll Berlin tun? Ein ausgezeichneter Anfang wäre es, dasselbe Kantsche Prinzip anzuwenden, das in der Flüchtlingsfrage so evident ist. Kants praktische Vernunft verlangt von uns, Strategien zu verfolgen, die, wenn man sie verallgemeinert, vernünftige Ergebnisse hervorbringen. Gewaltige Handelsüberschüsse allerdings lassen sich nicht verallgemeinern! Wie im Falle der Lüge besteht Kants Probe nicht, wer wirtschaftliche Prosperität in einer Währungsunion durch riesige Exporterträge und wachsenden Wettbewerb gegenüber den anderen europäischen Ländern sichern will. Und es scheitert ebenso, wer vorsätzlich die Augen davor verschließt, dass des einen Überschuss des anderen Defizit ist.

Es ist an der Zeit für Deutschland, seine moralische Führerschaft von der Flüchtlingsfrage auf die Architektur der Eurozone auszuweiten. An Kant zu erinnern, um das inkohärente Selbstbild als Europas exportorientierter Betrieb abzustoßen, wäre ein exzellenter Auftakt.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Sep 13th, 2015 at 10:48:51 AM EST

KSA takes zero refugees despite having 100,000 tents able to house 3 million people

While European countries are being lectured about their failure to take in enough refugees, Saudi Arabia - which has taken in precisely zero migrants - has 100,000 air conditioned tents that can house over 3 million people sitting empty.

The sprawling network of high quality tents are located in the city of Mina, spreading across a 20 square km valley, and are only used for 5 days of the year by Hajj pilgrims. As the website Amusing Planet reports, "For the rest of the year, Mina remains pretty much deserted."

The tents, which measure 8 meters by 8 meters, were permanently constructed by the Saudi government in the 1990's and were upgraded in 1997 to be fire proof. They are divided into camps which include kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Saudi Arabia says 2.5M Syrians have been sheltered, hundreds of thousands given residency (since the conflict began)

Saudi offers to build 200 mosques in Germany for Syrian refugees

by das monde on Mon Sep 14th, 2015 at 01:12:44 AM EST
Hey, Saudi Arabia: Here's what you can do to help the Syrian refugees
The Saudi, Qatari and Emirati governments know full well that the Muslim states that are taking in Syrians are already overwhelmed by the numbers. According to Amnesty International, Turkey alone has 1.6 million--and it, at least, is economically stable. The same can hardly be said for Lebanon (1.1 million refugees), Jordan (620,000), Iraq (225,000) or Egypt (140,000). And these are the refugees who have registered; it is hard to know how many others have crossed into these countries, but have not been counted.

The oil-rich Gulf Arab states might argue that they are giving all these countries financial aid, to help them cope with the refugee crisis. This is not enough. Money cannot paper over the tremendous social and political strains on the smaller countries: the refugee numbers are equal to a quarter of Lebanon's population, for instance. Nor can cash make up for the huge drain on natural resources. Jordan's water supply, which has always been meager, cannot cope with so many more parched mouths.


by das monde on Mon Sep 14th, 2015 at 01:13:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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