Migration and the EU: Sound and fury

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Migration and the EU


A modest agreement on resettling migrants in Europe


AFTER seven hours of debate, which at times burst into expletive-laden fury, European leaders achieved a breakthrough of sorts on June 25th in their vexed handling of an influx of refugees from across the Mediterranean. They agreed that they would relocate 40,000 asylum seekers currently in Italy and Greece—countries that have been flooded with arrivals—across other EU countries, and resettle in the EU 20,000 refugees now outside its borders. Leaders left the “intensive debate”, as Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, understatedly put it, looking exhausted. So intense was the debate that British prime minister David Cameron’s much hyped sell of a new deal for Britain in the EU was described by one participant as a relaxing 10-minute break.
Despite the raging, the agreement it achieved is disappointingly modest for two reasons. First, the numbers of migrants it deals with are relatively small. New figures from the UNHCR show that 153,000 migrants have crossed into Europe this year alone, …

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