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Reports at the time said that people could make the journey in less than three weeks, Syria to Germany, start to finish. Some of the other non-Syrian people who chanced the journey could simply buy a cheap plane ticket to Turkey and join the trek. Everyone sensed it was a limited window of opportunity, so there was a last-minute panic with people piling on the Balkan route, refugee or not (quite a lot of people who had just waited for the chance). They were obviously right to think that way.

Then seasonal weather conditions got worse so that slowed down the train. Then the EU-Turkey deal and the Macedonian border closure came. However, if those things hadn't happened I can guarantee you that the train would currently be in full swing, now that people had even more time to make up their minds and prepare.

What's really vexing is that even now as the great pile of asylum applications is being processed, the rate of acceptance is at 52.5%. Not that much higher than last year when it was 48.5%. So we can hardly say that these are all refugees fleeing oppression and violence. But that was the built-in assumption during the great asylum hic-up. Which lead to the system being overtaxed and all the other nasty secondary political effects.

Personally, I think the only way to preserve the instrument of asylum (which is always called a 'high social good' - not a cheap good), preserve the system without blowing it up, and preserve solidarity is to get people out directly from war zones after checking their applications. The current system where the applications of those who make the hurdle race (if people bother to apply) can take ages to be decided, and where negative decisions mostly can't be enforced is destined to fail. Resources and energy are being spent on anything but helping refugees. A new underclass along ethnic lines is being built as if that was a socially healthy thing. Solidarity is being bled out and replaced by intolerance.

Incidentally, today the social-democrat prime minister of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, Hannelore Kraft, said in an interview she is "glad that the borders are closed". Just last year she sounded very different on the issue.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Tue Jul 19th, 2016 at 12:06:55 AM EST
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