Calais: another brick in the wall of Fortress Britain

Article published on Sept. 8, 2016
Article published on Sept. 8, 2016

The UK government has announced plans to build a wall in Calais to prevent refugees from crossing the Channel using the Eurotunnel, as part of a 20 million euro plan to protect British and French borders. Some commentators see it as a necessary evil, others as evidence of the EU's failure to handle the migrant crisis. 

No solution without borders and walls - The Daily Telegraph, UK

There's no alternative to building new barriers in view of the massive influx of refugees and immigrants for which Europe itself is to blame, says the Daily Telegraph: "Across the continent of Europe borders are going up everywhere, from the Greek-Macedonian border, all the way along what used to be the migrant route up through the Balkans into northern Europe. Every country that has criticised every other country for doing so has ended up doing the thing it has criticised within weeks. This is not a failing. Rather, it would be a failing to do anything otherwise. The mass migration which Europe has encouraged in recent years is making itself felt. And one of the political consequences is the re-erection of borders." (08/09/2016)

First the Eurotunnel, now the Eurowall - Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy

The wall of Calais is a symbol of failure, the business daily Il Sole 24 Ore comments: "First we had the Eurotunnel, now we have the Eurowall. A devastating symbol of these changing times, of a Europe that is falling apart instead of growing together. A Europe that is unable to face challenges for which it wasn't prepared and to which it doesn't know how to respond. The problem starts with the fact that we clearly no longer want to differentiate between 'economic refugees' and 'asylum seekers'. We remain incapable of applying existing laws and signed treaties... The wall is effectively a further step in the process of pushing the problem southwards: any wall or barrier that is constructed in the North inevitably shifts the burden to the South. The reason for this is the EU's complete inability to find joint solutions to a problem that threatens to break up the entire community structure." (08/09/2016)

The disgrace on the English Channel - De Standaard, Belgium

The planned wall in Calais won't solve the problem, De Standaard complains: "The so-called Jungle of Calais is a disgrace for Europe. The way in which the French state has let the problem get out of hand is difficult to reconcile with the values that the République so dearly loves to evoke... The Brits aren't innocent either, incidentally. On the contrary... And after the Brexit they'll be in even less of a hurry to solve the problem... Perhaps Europe should demand that a decent solution for Calais should be part of the Brexit agreement. The disgrace of Calais shows once again that only broad-based European cooperation and solidarity can solve the refugee and migration problem. But this solidarity does not exist. Too many member countries only pass the buck on to others." (08/09/2016)

Refugees not to blame for the decline of Calais - Mediapart, France

Residents and truck drivers have been demonstrating in Calais since the start of the week against the refugees living in the camp known as the "Jungle", blaming the migrants for the city's decline. Nonsense, writes Calais resident Nancy Bélart on her blog with Mediapart: "Calais is a port city and has always been dangerous at night... For 30 years the downtown area has always been like a ghost town as of 7pm. And 20 years ago the construction of the tunnel and the opening of the huge shopping centre Cité Europe sounded the death knell for the city and its shops... So the refugees have nothing to do with the death of Calais! On the contrary: if the city's residents had given them a chance they would have liked nothing better than to drink a tea or coffee and have a bite to eat in the city centre - and thus participate in the city's economic life. Even with the little money they have at their disposal." (06/09/2016)

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