Germany softens as the UK looks for help with the crisis in Calais
Every day the papers carry a story about a tragedy that has befallen the migrants trying to make their way into Southern Europe and travel north in search of a better life. Some are fleeing war and civil unrest in Syria or Eritrea. More still are economic migrants who simply cannot afford to feed their families, and are looking for work that pays an acceptable wage. All of these people are willing to die for their passage if necessary, which proves that whatever they are fleeing is severe indeed; they are drowning in boats trying to cross from Libya into Italy, are suffocating in unconditioned HGV lorries packed so tightly that they can’t sit down, and are jumping from the roofs of moving trucks once they reach terra firma, and not a single European government knows what to do.
At any other time in history (the 1930s and the post-war period for example) we as a country would have welcomed those with a contribution to make, and given asylum to those fleeing genuine persecution. But with anti-immigrant feeling running higher than it has in decades, not just in the UK but in Europe, the politics of intolerance is winning out. Italy took some migrants at first, as did Greece, but the load was too much. Now they shepherd them onto trains bound for Hungary, Budapest, Paris and Berlin, and send them on their way. From these destinations they trickle into the general populace of the EU, to such an extent that Germany is expecting 600,000 arrivals by the end of the year.
A small proportion of these people are those currently “swarming” the port of Calais in France, causing major issues for cross-border travellers from both countries as well as HGV-carried imports and exports, and they are not going anywhere. Two camps have been set up (the largest of which is nicknamed “The Jungle”) to contain the tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers at the border, but every night they attack the fences and every night some get through. It is only a matter of time until something far more serious happens, and the protests turn into riots.
The EU leaders are meeting next week to discuss potential responses, but since the failure of their plan to stop people smugglers, and the collapse of their efforts to control migrants at the southern borders, it may well be too little, too late.