The refugee crisis is holding up a mirror to the European Union which reflects a troubling image— an image that cannot be talked away by morality rhetoric. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” famously claimed the Anglo-Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke.
The Greek crisis has considerably widened the gap between the EU Member States and this is likely to continue. As was stressed after the bitter “commitment” on the morning of 13 July, only France and Italy, as well as Cyprus, strove to “save Greece”, preventing the “Grexit” which Germany and others, possibly fed up with endless European summits, more or less openly encouraged. The cracks are not, therefore, only “north-south” or “east-west”, but also dangerously affect the fundamental basis of the EU itself.
Europe and Germany cannot be an island of contentment, because cross-border crises do not simply disappear by building walls, looking away and failing to act.