Monday 5 December 2016

Attitudes to refugees divide Europe with a new Iron Curtain

Published 23/09/2015 | 02:30

Migrants queue at the compound outside the Berlin Office of Health and Social Affairs as they wait for their registration
Migrants queue at the compound outside the Berlin Office of Health and Social Affairs as they wait for their registration

In May 1946, Churchill gave a speech considered to be the opening salvo of the Cold War. He declared: "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent." In addition to the "Iron Curtain" that had descended across Eastern Europe, Churchill spoke of "communist fifth columns" that were operating throughout western and southern Europe.

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Could the same thing happen again in Europe with the refugee crisis? Could a new Iron Curtain - a new demarcation line - already be drawn between Eastern and Western Europe? In 1945, the line was an ideological and military divide. This time, could it be ethnic, demographic and religious?

Today the line is geographically the same, running right from the Baltic to the Adriatic. Now the issue is not communism but migration. The countries to the West of this new Iron Curtain are prepared to take in migrants/refugees whereas the countries to the east of the line are not.

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