Europe further tightens border controls

The European Union is further increasing its efforts to keep out migrants and refugees. European leaders have agreed to ask North African countries to host detention camps for refugees and migrants, in an effort to stop boats arriving in Europe.

But they still need to find a country to host them. An EU summit on migration also called on ships run by aid organisations to leave rescues at sea to the Libyan coastguard—meaning that refugees will drown.

They also agreed to do more to share the responsibility for accepting refugees. But there is little detail on how this will happen.

There is no real “migration crisis” in Europe. The number of refugees and migrants has dropped dramatically since 2015, when the Syrian crisis saw over a million refugees arrive in Europe. Last year less than 172,000 people crossed the Mediterranean. This is less than 0.4 per cent of the European Union’s population.

What has changed is the rise of far right. The governments of Italy and Austria now include far right parties determined to stop immigration. Italy has closed its ports to rescue ships in the Mediterranean, and turned away three separate boats, which have been forced to land in Malta and Spain.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has adopted new anti-migrant measures after her coalition government faced collapse. Her interior minister, from coalition ally the Christian Social Union, Horst Seehofer, threatened to resign unless Germany closed its border to prevent asylum seeker arrivals. His party faces an electoral threat from the far right AfD in upcoming elections in Bavaria.

Merkel has agreed to set up detention centres on Germany’s border with Austria to try to send back asylum seekers already registered in another European country. But this requires agreements with other countries to accept them back. Austria and Italy have threatened to close their borders in turn if this goes ahead.

Across Europe, the right is scapegoating immigrants for unemployment and inequality. The left has to pin the blame on those really responsible—corporations and rich.


Solidarity meetings

Latest articles

Read more

Neo-Nazi sentenced to jail for attack on home of anti-racist activist

Desmond Liddington, a neo-Nazi who pleaded guilty to his part in the attack on the home of Black Lives Matter activist Paddy Gibson, has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail.

Can we teach an end to racism?

The ABC miniseries The School That Tried to End Racism documents a class of primary school students in Sydney in an experimental program designed to root out unconscious racial bias.

Why the right hates Critical Race Theory

Tom Fiebig looks at the culture wars around Critical Race Theory and argues that understanding the systemic basis of racism is vital if we are to fight it.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here