Refugee Crisis Ignites European Showdown: Balance of Power

(Bloomberg) --

At the peak of Europe’s refugee crisis, the influx of millions of migrants frayed the continent’s social cohesion and threatened to topple governments.

Three years on, the full political fallout is only now becoming clear.

Italy’s populist government has lost no time in picking fights with its European peers. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s denial of access to a humanitarian vessel prompted Spain to step in and grant safe harbor, while provoking a rebuke from French President Emmanuel Macron. A full-blown diplomatic incident followed as Paris and Rome traded insults.

In Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel is again under domestic pressure over her liberal stance on asylum. Hungary and Poland continue to refuse to accept any refugees at all.

While arrivals are way down from 2015-2016, Europe’s inability to agree on how to respond to those making the dangerous journey is stoking EU infighting at the very time it needs to show unity in the face of President Donald Trump’s challenges on trade, Iran and defense.

It’s likely to get worse: Austria’s anti-immigration government is making migration the centerpiece of its six-month presidency of the EU starting July 1.

Refugee Crisis Ignites European Showdown: Balance of Power

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Refugee Crisis Ignites European Showdown: Balance of Power

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