Catholic World News

Vatican newspaper chides European nations over migrants

January 27, 2016

In a front-page op-ed article, Giuseppe Fiorentino, the vice-editor of L’Osservatore Romano, criticized officials of European nations for backtracking on the Schengen Agreement.

Under the agreement, which was signed in 1985 and took effect a decade later, 26 EU nations suspended internal border controls and became a passport-free zone. European interior ministers met on January 25 and discussed whether to suspend the agreement for two years.

A potential suspension of the Schengen Agreement has angered Greece, which has borne the brunt of the European migrant crisis. Over 820,000 of the 1.01 million migrants and refugees who entered Europe in 2015 did so by entering Greece, and almost all arrived by sea. An additional 45,361 migrants and refugees arrived in Greece by sea between January 1 and January 25, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Describing the EU’s response to the crisis as “slow, cumbersome, and manifestly ineffective,” Fiorentino said that a state “has the right and duty to protect the safety and welfare of its citizens” but added that no single nation should be “left alone” to confront the crisis, especially since “it cannot refuse to rescue persons in the sea.”

“Blocks and walls” within the Schengen nations, Fiorentino continued, are not a “real solution,” as he called upon the EU to “imagine” itself as a “protagonist” by “abandoning egoism.”

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