Staircase at European Parliament European Parliament/Flickr

The Crisis Europe Needs

Creating institutions to enhance border security and resettle refugees will require Europe to take another step toward deeper political integration, with decisions made at the EU, not the national, level. There may be a reluctance to contemplate this, but there is no choice if Europe is to have a hope of solving the problem.

BERKELEY – It’s hard to be optimistic about Europe. Last summer, a political cage match between Germany and Greece threatened to tear the European Union apart. In country after country, extremist political parties are gaining ground. And Russian President Vladimir Putin’s incursion into Ukraine, in the EU’s backyard, has turned the common European foreign and security policy into a punch line.

Now comes the refugee crisis. The EU’s 28 member states are quibbling over how to distribute 120,000 refugees, when more than three times that number crossed the Mediterranean in the first nine months of 2015 alone.

Refugees are coming by land as well as sea. Germany alone expects as many as a million asylum-seekers this year. It is risible to think that European governments will be able to deport, or “repatriate” in diplomacy-speak, any substantial fraction of these arrivals. Like a rubber ball, they will only come bouncing back.

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