On implementing EU-Turkey agreement

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On debates re: European burden sharing

On bridges

From Feargus O’Sullivan over at Citylab (and The Atlantic) —

When the Oresund Bridge (that’s Öresund in Swedish and Øresund in Danish) opened in 2000, it was taken as a harbinger of a bright, borderless future for Europe.

Linking Danish Copenhagen with the Swedish city of Malmo across five miles of the Oresund Strait, the bridge was an unquestionably bold feat of engineering, featuring a two-mile tunnel connecting to it via an artificial island. The bridge’s role in reshaping Scandinavia’s geography was more impressive still. It joined two countries previously linked only by sea and air and helped to bind Denmark’s first and Sweden’s third cities into a new international metro area.

Now, however, that international link-up is under intense strain—so much so that Sweden is now drawing up a law that would allow it to close the bridge. The reason: Europe’s refugee crisis.

see also: Bridge of Sneers via the Economist; a building war of words, “Sweden has hit its limit. Denmark has not.

On pushback to stronger border controls

Jørgen Carling in NRK discussing smuggling —

De som ønsker å søke om asyl, må levere asylsøknaden på grensen. Grensekontrollen i Sverige førte til at antallet asylsøkere til Norge ble halvert på en uke, sier UDI.

– Markedet for menneskesmugling ville blitt borte dersom det eksisterte trygge flyruter til Europa. Men da ville flere ha kommet, så det ønsker man ikke. 

Statssekretær Jøran Kallmyr (Frp) i Justisdepartementet mener menneskesmuglere er kyniske kriminelle som utnytter fattige mennesker.

Mens noen menneskesmuglere er farlige og ute etter å utnytte mennesker gjelder ikke det alle, mener Carling.

– Når politikere fremstiller alle menneskesmuglere som onde og farlige gjør det det lettere å sette inn tiltak som man sier skal beskytte flyktningene. I realiteten er nok hovedformålet med å ta menneskesmuglerne å holde flyktningene på avstand så antall asylsøknader i Norge går ned.

Beate Ekeløve-Slydal in NRK on the repercussions of hasty legal changes —

– Vi er veldig bekymret over det store antallet hastendringer som kommer på løpende bånd, sier Beate Ekeløve-Slydal, politisk rådgiver i Amnesty. 

Slydal viser blant annet til hasteendringen i utlendingsloven om at paragraf 32, der en ordlyd i loven er endret.

(links and emphasis in original text)

On regional tensions

Heightened tensions in the region these days —

Norway:

Sweden:

Denmark:

Norway – Sweden – Denmark comparisons:

08.12.15 edit: Add Finland to the mix:

On refugees after Paris, et al.

General:

USA:

Europe:

On Paris

Hoping for cool heads and warm hearts in the coming days.

From German Lopez at Vox

Although the perpetrators of the Paris attacks remain unknown, Jeff Duncan, a Republican congressman from South Carolina, took to Twitter to say that the tragedy shows Europe and America shouldn’t let in Syrian refugees because it might lead to more attacks.

@RepJeffDuncanHow’s that Syrian refugee resettlement look now? How about that mass migration into Europe? Terrorism is alive & well in the world.

As Dan Holloway tweeted earlier tonight, this assumption is misguided.

@RFCdan To people blaming refugees for attacks in Paris tonight. Do you not realise these are the people the refugees are trying to run away from..?

Again, we still don’t know who’s to blame for the Paris attacks — so we don’t know if a jihadist group was involved, or even what the motives were. But if a jihadist group is the culprit, these kinds of terrorist organizations are exactly the kind of danger that many Syrian refugees are fleeing from. It is ISIS, after all, that has terrorized Syria — and forced people to flee their home country to find refuge from the violence.

(links and emphasis in original; embedded Tweets didn’t copy as in original.)

See also: How to politicize a tragedy by Sam Kriss; The Paris attacks will make things even harder for Europe’s refugees by Cassie Werber; Opponents of Syrian Refugee Resettlement Seize on the Paris Attacks by David Francis and Siobhan O’Grady; the Islamic State’s trap for Europe by Harleen Gambhir; “You won’t read about this in the media, but…” by Martin Belam; on croquembouche via John Oliver.