Last night, BBC2’s Newsnight opened with a feature encompassing the demolition of the so-called ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais (‘home’ to around 7000 refugees and migrants) and the wider refugee and migrant situation in Europe. Providing some context on the wider situation, Alexander Betts spoke of the reduction in the numbers of people travelling through the Western Balkans route from Greece over the past 6 months, since the EU-Turkey deal was agreed. This has led, he said, to Turkey imposing “massive restrictions on the ability of Syrians to come across Turkey and come across via the Aegean route”.
However, for those who have arrived in Greece and Italy and been accepted as refugees, an agreed EU quota system to resettle them within Europe has, as the programme, says, “produced dismal results”, with 1392 relocated from Italy and 4852 relocated from Greece compared with the 160,000 pledged by EU countries. On this Betts comments, “the Juncker relocation plan was doomed from the start. It had a number of inherent flaws. First of all, many European governments didn’t want to sign up to it, the Visegrad countries were opposed to it but were strong-armed into agreeing to it… There were many reasons to believe that it would never be implemented, and that, of course, has been the case.”