This weekend hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in cities across Europe to demand #SafePassage for the hundreds of thousands of refugees from war zones still trying to cross Europe to safety. But in the last few days middle Europe closed its doors: Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary and Macedonia each took measures to ensure these refugees are either turned back to Greece or remain trapped in Greece, a country that has been bankrupted by the Euro Group and is doing its best, despite its dire financial circumstances, to help how it can. For a while Fortress Europe’s drawbridge was raised; now it seems it has not only closed, but the moat has been widened too…
According to a Guardian report…
19 February: Austria imposes a daily limit of 3,200 people entering the country and restricts asylum applications to 80 a day.
21 February: Macedonia prevents Afghans from crossing from Greece.
22 February: Slovakia says it is prepared to fence off its borders with Austria and Hungary. Slovenia sends troops to its frontier with Croatia while Croatia warns its main migration route will close if Austria and Germany shut their borders.
24 February: Albania says its border could close if Macedonia fully shuts its Greek border while Bulgaria approves an extension to its Turkish border fence. Hungary’s prime minister calls an anti-refugee quotas referendum while the Czech Republic forms a special migration police unit.
26 February: Croatia puts daily cap of 580 on new entrants and says Slovenia has done the same. Serbia says it will follow suit…
All this in the week Amnesty International released its annual report that identifies 30 countries sending refugees back to war zones.
All this in the week when evidence emerged how Turkey threatened the EU with bussing refugees to Greece and Bulgaria unless it receives billions of euros and ‘visa-free’ roaming for its citizens.
All this as NATO warships patrol the eastern Aegean to deter more desperate refugees trying to make the treacherous crossing to freedom.
All this when in Turkey returned refugees are detained in a string of EU-funded gulags, from where they are despatched back to the war zones.
All this where in Calais and Dunkirk thousands of refugees – many of whom are Afghans who worked with the British Army as translators fighting the Taliban, or are Kurds who fled ISIS-controlled territory with their families, or are unaccompanied children let down by empty promises from David Cameron – are still refused admission to the UK.
This is Europe’s shame. Not of the people, but of the politicians and the Eurocrats. These refugees need our help, our support, our love and our determination.