By Hanif Ghafari

Immigrants Crisis in Europe

December 26, 2017

TEHRAN _ The European authorities' challenge over the asylum seekers crisis continues. Since the formation of the Austrian coalition government, this challenge has been strengthened. The Austrian coalition consists of the Freedom Party and the Central Right, and this government is one of the main opponents of the current approach of the EU towards asylum seekers. Recent comments by the Austrian Chancellor "Sebastien Kurz" is an indicator of this profound and fundamental opposition.

The young chancellor of Austria, who is one of the main critics of EU immigration policies at the current time, stated:

"The distribution of immigrants in the EU countries based on a fixed quota is wrong. It doesn't help Europe if we force countries to accept refugees. I criticize the plan according to which 120 thousand refugees were divided in the European Union member states, which the ministers of this union had about two years ago agreed upon. If we do this, the European Union would be further divided. It should be to EU member states to decide on the number of refugees they want to accept. "

However, the heads of the European Union believe that the only way to cope with the immigration crisis and the presence of asylum seekers in Europe, is the commitment of all members of the United Europe to this issue. Otherwise, only countries like Germany and Sweden will be in crisis over asylum seekers, and this will increase the social vulnerability in them. Since 2015, we have witnessed widespread criticism all over Europe about how to deal with this crisis.

However, the Chancellor of Austria, in his first official position on the issue, considered the quota of immigrants to be completely meaningless. Sebastien Kurz has his own argument:
"Most of the immigrants don’t want to go to Bulgaria or Hungary, they especially want to come to Germany, Austria or Sweden." In addition to Bulgaria and Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland also don't want to accept refugees. According to the European Statistics Office, most immigrants coming to the European Union are seeking asylum in Germany. "

Furthermore, the Chancellor of Austria is one of the main critics ofthe Joint action planon the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement. The new Austrian government believes that this agreement should be terminated, and subsequently, negotiations with Turkey on joining the European Union should be stopped. However, the Austrian authorities have not actually proposed an alternative solution to the crisis of asylum seekers in the United Europe. They are merely critics of the status quo. Another important point is that Austria will take over the EU Presidency in the second half of the coming year (2018). Undoubtedly, in this case, we will witness the intensification of the disputes between the Austrian government and other members of the European Union over the resolution of the asylum seekers' crisis.
An issue that has already raised concerns among EU leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In any case, the statements of the Austrian Chancellor show that the European asylum seekers crisis will remain strong in the coming year.

European Authorities Concerns over Changes in Catalonia
The recent victory of independent parties in the Catalan parliamentary elections has raised concerns among European officials. The Green continent politicians are concerned about the impact of this phenomenon in other parts of Europe. In any case, Spain is considered one of the EU and the Eurozone member states, and any political and geographical changes in this country can affect other parts of Europe. On the other hand, European authorities are worried about the raise of other independent parties in Europe (after the victory of the Catalan separatists).Although the European Union remained silent and didn't accept the referendum held in Catalonia in 2017, which was held without the permission of the central government, recent parliamentary elections have been held by the permit of the central government in a completely formal and legal manner. Therefore, the European Union will have to recognize the results of these elections.

Some European news sources have emphasized that European authorities, while not planning to directly enter into the conflict between the central government of Spain and Catalonia, but they secretly encourage "Mariano Rajoy", the prime minister of Spain, to negotiate with the leaders of Catalonia and resolve this conflict. Some analysts of the Europe's affairs argue that if more autonomy is granted to Catalonia and some adjustments are made to the tax and economic structure of the region, the public opposition towards the central government of Spain would drop to a great extent in this state. In this case, many of the separatists would retreat from their positions against the Spanish government. However, it doesn't seem that Madrid government is simply going to grant benefits to the separatists.

The Spanish government thought that after recent changes in Catalonia and the dissolution of the parliament by the central government, the independents have to accept defeat in the region's parliamentary elections. And so "Catalonia's concern" will be removed for at least four to five years. However, the results of recent parliamentary elections and the acquisition of 52 percent of the votes and winning of 70 seats (out of 135 parliamentary seats) by the independent parties have changed all the equations to the detriment of the European Union.
At the moment, the EU authorities are even more concerned with the current developments in Catalonia. However, as noted, European leaders do not intend to directly enter this equation because this would raise lots of sensitivities within the Spanish community.

The German newspaper "Tagesschau" writes in this regard:
"After the local parliamentary elections in Catalonia which resulted in the victory of the separatist parties, the European Union has had a cautious reaction to its results. However, there are concerns behind closed doors. Many European delegations have called on both sides (the central government and the separatists) to enter into negotiations in this regard. "

Undoubtedly, over the coming weeks and months, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will report on the latest developments in Catalonia in his private meetings with European authorities, and will ask for their helpin dealing with this issue.

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