The crisis rocking Europe may destroy everything that has been so painstakingly built over the past 40 years. No one can say where the European project is headed and no one can predict when and if the uncontrollable inflow of refugees will ease.
Thousands of refugees have already left Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the flow may not stop at that. Imagine if, for example, Egypt failed – a country where the youth is being crushed by unemployment and could easily be lured by the sirens of extremism. What would happen then?
The European leadership is at a loss, because there appears to be no short-term or even medium-term solution to the problem. It is easy to say that the fragments of Syria and Iraq can be put back together again and the region can be rebuilt, but those with experience of such matters are not at all optimistic.
The Italians addressed the refugee crisis in a manner that was both practical and cynical by joining forces with Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, who had the means and know-how to smash the smuggling rings working in and around his country. Europe has neither the mechanisms nor the experience to tackle the problem from an operational perspective. Even the idiots who once believed that Europe could form a military fleet that would be tasked with averting the inflow realize that this is simply not feasible. Who was going to take responsibility for sinking ships and killing people?
So the issue is not about to go away anytime soon and certainly not before creating more problems and pressure. Even the Germans are surprised by the harshness of the EU’s newer Eastern members and by the rising popularity of far-right parties and movements. In one respect, Athens and Berlin have a common approach to the issue.
The massive influx of refugees and migrants is testing the strength of politicians and local communities. The German Left and Greens are warning that their strongholds have reached their limit. The political consequences are already being felt in Germany as well as in the rest of Europe. With no truly powerful leaders to steer developments, the domino effect could spread and lead to even more isolationism and Euroskepticism.
Greece is the weak link in the storm because it is having to deal with a massive new problem on top of a debilitating economic crisis. The wider region around Greece is no longer stable and safe, and if the refugee influx continues unabated, it is not impossible that it will end up a completely isolated country on the brink of collapse with thousands of refugees trapped within its borders.