Two days ago the President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen, with her usual light smile, thanked the conservative Greek government for being the "aspida" (shield) of Europe and emphatically said that the EU's united line will not be changed, rejecting on Erdogan's Turkey all the responsibility for the terrible events that are worsening every day on the Greek-Turkish border, as a consequence before the endless war in Syria. Only the President of the European Parliament, Mr Sassoli, has saved European honour by at least proposing to welcome unaccompanied minors.
There is only one way to define these words and what is happening on the border between Turkey and Greece. It is an absolute disgrace for Europeans and for most of their European and national leaders, who have trusted an increasingly unbalanced autocrat and have lost the years from 2015 to the present, refusing to address and resolve the issue of their duty to help innocent people in danger and to put in place a serious migration policy. They hid their heads in the sand, chasing away the mere idea that Erdogan could no longer be satisfied with the money received, paralyzed by sovereign cries, not even considering the possibility of looking for solutions that could be found long ago: because in these years it was possible to reform the Dublin regulation, to prepare humanitarian corridors, to prepare, given the events of the terrible Syrian conflict, plans for the management of sudden flows (which is provided for by a European directive, 2001/55/EC, which is not intended to be activated); it was possible to work seriously and cohesively on a shred of unified policy with respect to the conflict in Syria and Libya, it was possible to strengthen, instead of continuing to cut them, national and European funds for humanitarian aid and aid for the integration of immigrant populations in Europe.
There is a very uncomfortable truth that the scandalised speech by Von Der Leyen absolutely does not want to see. It is not only Turkey that does not respect the pacts. That agreement, strongly supported by Merkel's Germany, which already contained the preconditions for its current disaster, said that the EU should resume and redistribute the refugees amassed in Greece. It did not do that. Of the 160,000 people that the EU member states had pledged to redistribute, 22,000 were actually reallocated (data nov.2019) from Greece. Germany even prevents family reunification, with the result that for months and years there have been children, wives, parents of people legally in Germany who cannot reach their loved ones, contrary to international law and European standards. The explosive situation in Lesvos and Greece is all, absolutely all the fault of the EU governments and of the insipience of the EU institutions; the same ones who today call Greece a "shield" and think they can solve the situation by giving more money to Turkey.
But Turkey today welcomes almost 4 million Syrian and even Afghan refugees, of whom only a small part are in equipped camps; people who represent a real challenge from all points of view for a country in great difficulty, beyond the erratic policies of the rais. Anyway, it was more than evident that Erdogan would sooner or later decide to use this "weapon" to overturn the cost of his failed and aggressive policies on the refugees and on the EU.
The national governments have all used their power of interdiction to prevent the EU from even discussing a common and positive position on reception and have turned the other way in the face of the harsh reality of the people trapped in Greece and the Balkans: they have been talking for years only about safe borders and today they are speechless in the face of the Greek police, the children freezing to death, the thousands of people amassed fleeing from a real and cruel war and who are, all of them, legitimate candidates and candidates for asylum and protection: Today, the only way forward is to open up the borders and redistribute the refugees by activating temporary humanitarian protection, evacuating the overcrowded, insecure and unhealthy camps on the Greek islands and in particular in Lesbos as soon as possible and taking action to stop the massacre in Idlib. It is possible to explain to European citizens and townspeople that this is the only right thing to do at this time. Precisely because we are Europeans and we care about the values of freedom and the defence of the rights of all, we cannot resign ourselves to the unnecessary suffering of so many people whom we have a legal and moral duty to protect. And we cannot continue to accept false and extemporaneous solutions, which make the problems even more serious and unsolvable.