Editorial, The Economist, June 13, 2015

olidarity: a noun that defies attempts to tether it to reality. Until recently, solidarity was spoken about in the abstract. It was almost always deployed by politicians seeking money or other rewards from their peers. Both Greece’s attempts to secure debt relief and Germany’s insistence for sticking to austerity were cloaked as calls for solidarity. Now, the migrant crisis is drawing upon a new dictionary definition of solidarity. After 800 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean last month, the European Commission issued two proposals: First, that 40,000 asylum-seeking refugees are to be re-located from Italy and Greece (which have already been flooded with over 100,000 arrivals this year); and secondly, that the 20,000 refugees outside the EU be resettled inside its borders. For both proposals, a quota system will be installed to determine how many migrants EU member nations will receive. The quota takes into account population, GDP, unemployment, and previous resettlement efforts. By EU law, the resettlement plan and resulting quota must have voluntary support from EU nations in order to take effect.

Unfortunately, this solidarity is a departure from the abstract, oft-discussed solidarity in the political realm. It is direct and arithmetic. For many, it is too much to handle. Although Germany, France, and Italy back the plan, several Central and Eastern nations with little experience of asylum-seekers are fearful to accept the migrants. Inevitably, however, the risk is that this relocation debate distracts from two far more serious issues: the human tragedies that drove Europe to act, and the tragic situations that force so many migrants to risk their lives for a better future abroad.

Get in deeper:

Italy threatens EU with ‘plan B that would hurt’ if no solidarity in migrant crisis by RT

Debate: Related Articles
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Since 2008, when the global financial crisis erupted, the European Union has been confronted by a succession of crises… These crises have stretched the EU’s powers and institutions up to – and beyond – their limits, which is why Europe’s response has been so mortifyingly weak.Joschka Fischer, Project Syndicate, May 30, 2015
In EU circles, the word ‘solidarity’ is being bandied about more than ever – but those using it are invariably arguing for something in their own national interest.Katya Adler, BBC, June 16, 2015
But the walls being built are not only made of bricks. The psychological ones are even more dangerous, as they are soaked with ideologies, humiliations and frustrations, reckless gambles, and clashing inconsiderateness.Adriana Cerretelli, Il Sole 24 Ore, June 19, 2015
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