Since last year when hundreds of refugees started arriving in Italy, following the collapse of Libya, we have been witnessing the deterioration of a tragic situation.
Two big and very crucial routes to Europe have opened. One starts in Syria and the other in Libya.
These routes are taken by migrants and refugees. A countless number of these people pass through these routes daily. Most of them are running for their life, fleeing the chaos that reigns in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
But many others come from other countries where chaos also reigns. They are coming from Asia and Africa.
The European Union’s Dublin II Regulation obliges the countries of the Schengen area to take in the asylum-seekers. They are also responsible for keeping undocumented migrants out and to stop them from making their way to the rich European countries.
The system worked more or less satisfactorily for a couple of years.
But when these routes or gates were opened, there was nothing that could stop the wave of desperate refugees from trying to reach Europe.
The rich countries of Europe would blame the poorest South for many sins. It was easy to carry on without burdening their economies with one more problem – that of keeping out refugees and undocumented migrants.
But now, the bitter truth is revealed.
The tens of thousands of refugees who are crossing the Mediterranean Sea, leaving behind them hundreds of dead, and who are ‘invading’ the Balkans and Hungary, have one goal: to reach the wealthy North.
After a quiet life, Austrians and Germans are now seeing their train stations and outdoor squares occupied by hungry families.
The far-right groups are trying to take advantage of the situation and xenophobic sentiments have almost exploded.
It is not, of course, a problem for Germany, as the Hungarian Prime Minister put it. It is not a problem for the rich countries.
Instead, it is a problem for the entire European family.
Italians, Greeks and to some extent Hungarians proved they understand what solidarity among partners means.
Now it seems the rich countries are starting to move in this direction.
Dublin II has been put aside.
Thousands of refugees will find a place in the North.
But the problem has not been resolved.
The real question is not how to manage this population of refugees already in Europe, but how to stop the new arrivals.
The EU must address the central issues of the problem and find solutions to at the very least control the wave of refugees and migrants.
The EU needs to forge a common policy and act.
After all, some European countries are considered partly responsible for the chaos that has engulfed the Middle East and Africa.
They had facilitated the fall of the dictatorships in Iraq and Syria and they tried to do this in Libya. The result was the total collapse of all three states.
The solution to the refugee crisis, the most acute problem of Europe now, is not on how or where to host the desperate.