The 2016 most used word: refugees – The inflow of refugees from the neighbouring Turkish coast is impressive. Sleepy, self-satisfied Europe eyes incredulously the surge of uprooted people from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and so on. European citizens or I should say West European citizens, who have been watching the Middle East crisis on tv and wondering where this place is, are suddenly faced with the reality of the situation in the faces of refugees. East Europeans, some of whom have experienced extreme poverty and forced migration not so long ago, are more weary. In Greece the refugees had the good luck to land on the islands of the North Aegean (mostly..) – the majority of the inhabitants of these islands are the progeny of people who have themselves fled from war and destruction in Asia Minor. Their first reaction is to save from the sea, help survive and protect as many as possible of the refugees who reach their land. But it is not enough…
If the inflow continues as it does today there will soon be a new tragedy both on the islands as well as in the Greek mainland. The country is not prepared, could not be prepared, to look after such large numbers of people. In fact, Europe is not prepared to host, help, protect and finally integrate such an influx. The only way out is political.
Europe, the old continent, needs to act as the broker of peace. Europe needs to enforce an embargo on the sale of arms on all war -engaged governments, take the initiative in peace negotiations, offer incentives for peaceful collaboration to governments striving for peace and viable development while applying a products boycott against war- mongering governments. The European Union present leadership needs to prove to its citizens that it has a good reason to exist and it must do it now, before it is too late.
The refugees problem is the tip of the iceberg: pockets of extreme poverty and discontent develop within various European capitals together with neo-fascist entities that threaten the social cohesion of the EU and not only. Terrorist attacks multiply and neo-fascist entities are on the rise. In addition, the citizens of the European Union feel threatened by the increasing pressure for more productivity and the deterioration of their quality of life.
Unless the governments of the EU realise the problems and the necessity for positive and fast action we may witness its dissolution.