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Thursday, January 28, 2016

European Backlash Against Refugees

Maybe everyone is getting cranky because it's the middle of winter. I don't know. But we do know that this week has seen several stories out of Europe suggesting a clear backlash against the onslaught of refugees from Syria. A couple of days ago, the Danish parliament passed a law allowing Danish officials to confiscate cash and other assets from refugees as sort of a down payment on how much they will cost the Danish taxpayers. 
Under the new Danish law, police will be allowed to search asylum seekers on arrival in the country and confiscate any non-essential items worth more than 10,000 kroner (£1,000) that have no sentimental value to their owner.
Then yesterday Sweden announced that it might be expelling as many as 80,000 asylum seekers, clearly trying to send a signal to would-be travelers that the reception in Sweden might be icier than they expected.
The interior ministry has called on police and migration authorities to prepare for a sharp increase in deportations, and to arrange charter flights to expel refused asylum seekers to their country of origin. Sweden is also approaching other EU countries, including Germany, to discuss cooperation to increase efficiency and make sure flights are filled to capacity, it said.
On Thursday Finland’s interior minister said Helsinki also intended to expel about 20,000 of the 32,000 asylum seekers it received in 2015. “In principle we speak of about two-thirds, meaning approximately 65 percent of the 32,000 will get a negative decision (to their asylum application),” Paivi Nerg, the ministry’s administrative director, told Agence France-Presse.
Sweden received more than 160,000 asylum applications last year – by far the biggest influx in the EU as a proportion of the population. Between 60,000 and 80,000 of them will be rejected, the interior minister, Anders Ygeman, told Swedish media on Thursday.
People wouldn't reach Scandinavia, of course, if their progress was halted farther south. So, Greece gets the blame for not doing that, since Greece has become the major entry point for people taking off from Turkey and heading in small boats to the Greek shoreline.
The European Union authorities on Wednesday raised pressure on Greece to step up its efforts to slow the flow of migrants and tighten control of the bloc’s external borders, the first step in a process that would allow some countries to its north to extend their border controls for up to two years.
Valdis Dombrovskis, a vice president of the European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, said that Greece was “seriously neglecting its obligations” by failing to properly register and fingerprint migrants. That conclusion led the commission to file a report to member states detailing “persistent and serious deficiencies” by Greece at controlling its borders.
In the meantime, the talks aimed at finding a resolution to the Syrian conflict are themselves in conflict, so the refugee crisis is not going to end anytime soon. 

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