On Monday (July 20) the EU countries again failed to show solidarity to tackle the migration tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea. The target to relocate 40,000 refugees was not reached – the EU member states could only agree on the relocation of around 32,000 migrants. The redistribution of refugees was supposed to be a relief for the frontline countries like Italy and Greece, which have called for help to face the massive arrival of refugees crossing the Mediterranean. But EU countries had difficulties to agree on how to share the burden.

According to Shada Islam, policy director at the EU think tank Friends of Europe, this is not only about solidarity. “It is showing much more than that, it is showing Europe’s inward looking mentality at the moment. The fact that Europeans are quite frightened of the world outside and of accepting people from the world outside. So, we were actually showing a disregard for our basic values. Europe says that it is inclusive, that it is open to people who are suffering discrimination, and that are victims of all kinds of nasty things, including war in the rest of the world. And we are shutting our doors on these and we are doing it in a very, very indifferent way. So, yes, a lack of solidarity within Europe, but with the rest of the world as well,” she said.

Shada Islam also doesn’t like the idea of forcing member states to take in refugees, especially if the discussions turn around such small figures which she described as “peanuts”. However, she underlined the contradiction between Europe’s refusal to accept more refugees and its economical need of immigrants. “This is such a numbers game and I think, really, we are trying to distract from the real issues that are out there, which is Europe’s fear and Europe’s hostility towards the outside world. And Europe needs immigrants, Europe needs young labour. Europe is desperate for skills and talents. All the people in the world who are talented are going to Canada, America, Australia and sometimes the UK. But we need immigrants and we are rejecting those who are coming in, it is ironical.”, she stressed.

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