The Syrian war did not begin yesterday. The exodus of people fleeing bombs, gunfire and the Islamic State either. It was predictable that the more than two million displaced people in Lebanon and Turkey were not going to stay there permanently. It was obvious as well that Europe was their horizon. However, the European Union has looked away as if it was something which was not going with her. They did not even served as advance the press reports of countries such as Bosnia, Macedonia or Serbia, or reports of human rights organizations in the Balkans which reported, last spring, the growing number of refugees who crossed their territories following the train tracks to central Europe. Until they have arrived.
However, to reach the fences with concertina that the Hungarian government has placed on its 175 kilometer border with Serbia or to camp in front of the central railway station of Budapest, the refugees have had to leave EU through Greece and cross the Balkans.
These camps are the first institutional response after months where the Balkan civil society has taken the hosting initiative, self-organizing between neighboring passageways of the first tents, the distribution of water and food, basic health care, legal assistance and even a small play area for children. Another example that only people can save people. No European government, being or not part of the EU, wants to deal in its territory with tens of thousands of refugees. They do their best to pass quickly and go their way, like a hot potato from hand to hand. The Macedonian government collects and briefly cares them in the Greek border and moves them to the Serbian border, where they again count the days to leave their country. Until they find a wall or a fence plagued with concertinas. In a way, these are two ways of not facing reality and ignorint it. It is to give back to the world, humanity and human rights.
As a MEP, what worries me is that even now, with the largest refugee crisis since World War II knocking on the doors of Europe, the EU seems not to be aware of their magnitude. Promises of funding and resources clearly insufficient (a million and a half euros for Serbia and Macedonia). An unbearable crisis management between European institutions and Member States, following the same logic of passing the buck. Too many contrasts with the speed and magnitude of community responses when crisis has a finacial surname. In one of the many checks I had to pass in order to enter in the Gevgelija camp, a police command recognized me that anyone of the EU had gone through there before and also anyone had offered any type of institutional support. What a EU brand!//