As refugee crisis deepens, more concern for collapse of Schengen zone
by Daily Sabah with AA
ISTANBULMar 03, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with AA
Mar 03, 2016 12:00 am
Seven EU states have already reinstated border controls within the Schengen free-travel zone, but it has not helped to reduce the number of refugees heading to Europe.
EU Commissioner for Migration Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Feb. 25 that the EU has 10 days to see significantly lower inflows of migrants and refugees "or else there is risk the whole system will completely break down."
EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır said on Wednesday that the Schengen area will collapse if Europe fails to cope with the current refugee crisis. Bozkır's comments about the 26-nation visa-free travel region came during a panel discussion at Harvard University's Center for European Studies. The euro crisis, migrant influx and terrorism are three threats to the integrity of the EU, he said. "I would like to underline that the refugee crisis is a defining moment for Europe. "If Europe fails to cope with the refugee crisis, the Schengen system will collapse, but more importantly, human tragedy will follow," he said.
Noting free movement of people on the continent as one of the key achievements of EU integration, Bozkır said the migrant crisis "is now inflaming a crisis that threatens the core of the European project." Bozkır also warned that if the EU "falls into a xenophobic atmosphere" the situation will get worse, adding that the EU lacks a common position on the crisis. While Germany favors an open door and a policy requiring member states to receive refugees directly from Turkey, Bozkır said some Central European countries as well as France and some Scandinavian countries "took exclusionary measures.
" He suggested that radical politicians should not be allowed to blindfold Europeans to help resolve the refugee crisis. According to Bozkır, Ankara has repeatedly called for help with refugees, but he said the EU heeded the calls for action very late when refugees reached Schengen borders.
Mentioning terrorism as a key threat to Europe, he said the EU should remain united against all extremists and violent terror groups. With an implication of some EU countries' tacit support for the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Bozkır said: "There is no difference between DAESH, al-Nusra Front, the PKK, PYD or DHKP-C [Revolutionary People's Liberation Party Front]." He also warned that recent attacks in Paris would provide "ground to Islamophobic, racist and xenophobic circles."
"Europe needs to articulate a new raison d'etre by determining a fresh and ambitious vision to face the challenges ahead and find concrete solutions to immediate problems," Bozkır added.