There Are Dangerous Signs of Immigrant Hatred in Every Single EU Country
With the positive news that EU countries are letting in more refugees, comes a backlash from the far-right; there have been tragic violent incidents and rising anti-immigrant vigilante hate and concrete steps taken by governements across the continent.
Here are a few examples from across the EU member nations.
Austria: Austria is requiring refugees to take an “Austrian values” course; one of those values is apparently barbed-wire fences, which it erected to try to keep them from entering the country in the first place.â€¨â€¨
Belgium: The interior minister has suggested that refugees wear special identity badges, raising the specter of Europe's fascist past.
Bulgaria: As one of the border countries, Bulgaria has militarized its territory to try to stop refugees coming from Turkey. Recently, an Afghan man was shot and killed by border police.
Croatia: Rival political factions have turned the refugees into a political football, wiht some criticizing the government for letting them in and others criticizing the refugees' treatment. The country's border with Serbia has been one of the main entry points for refugees.
Cyprus: The government has made clear it prefers “Christian” refugees, drawing a religious line in the sand; it also wants to limit refugee intake to 300.
Czech Republic: Czech police drew gasps worldwide when they started to write identification numbers on the arms of refugees.â€¨
Denmark: Known worldwide as a left-leaning social democratic state, Denmark refused to show solidarity by declining Sweden's plea to share some of the refugees it is importing.
Estonia: Estonia's only refugee center can hold about 100 refugees; far-right parties are calling for a referendum to cap the country's number of refugees, even though the government has only agreed to take in an additional 550 people.
Finland: “Finnish extremist organizations have been activated to oppose immigration, and this is the most visible and concrete security threat,” said Interior Minister Petteri Orpo of the growing backlash against the refugees.
France: French police have reportedly abused refugees, many of them living in tents in squalid conditions. French far-right leader Marine Le Pen declared, with no evidence, that 99 percent of refugees are men.
Germany: Germany has been among the most welcoming countries, choosing to accept as many as half a million refugees a year. Yet there have been beatings and even bombings committed against refugees in the past few weeks as the German far-right reacts to the influx. One German mayor who welcomed the refugees was stabbed in the neck. At least 580 attacks on asylum facilities have occurred this year.â€¨â€¨
Greece: In Greece, hooded men are hunting refugees arriving by boat. They smash the engines, leaving the refugees stranded.
Hungary: The ruling prime minister has seen his political fortunes rebound due to his anti-refugee stance; both tear gas and water cannons were used to repel refugees.
Italy: Activists say Italian officials are using refugees' countries of origin to define them as economic migrants, which would give them fewer rights and make it easier for Italy to deport them.
Latvia: Latvia agreed to take just 776 refugees, which set off protests from the far-right. “The refugees are not victims, most of them are here for money,” said one protester holding a picture of Hungary's anti-refugee prime minister.â€¨â€¨
Lithuania: Lithuania's parliament is trying to wrestle control over where refugees are settled; the country has agreed to bring in just 1,105 people.
Luxembourg: The small but rich EU country has been critical of the harsh response of other countries to refugees, but is only letting in a few dozen itself. One woman who has set up a Facebook page to welcome refugees has to constantly delete hateful comments.
Netherlands: In the Netherlands, cars belonging to left-leaning, pro-refugee lawmakers were set on fire, and other politicians received death threats. A refugee center was burned to the ground, and a renowned rabbi has called for refugee camps to be set up away from the country's Jewish neighborhoods because of anti-gay violence within the refugee centers.
Poland: Only 8 percent of Polish citizens surveyed said their country should take more than the 20,000 refugees the country is slated to accept.
Portugal: Portugal has seen protests in response to the small number of refugees it is taking in, with some citizens holding signs saying “Protesters NOT Welcome.”
â€¨â€¨Romania: Romania's president and prime minister have been quarreling as one made a pact with neighboring countries to close borders to refugees.â€¨â€¨
Slovakia: One small town in Slovakia held a vote on accepting refugees; 97 percent of the residents said no.â€¨â€¨
Slovenia: Slovenia's president doesn't want his country to become a “pocket” for refugees, and wants to step up border control to stop them from coming.â€¨â€¨
Spain: The mayor of Melilla said he “has to defend Melilla and its borders and impose order” in response to protests from the left-wing Podemos party, which is criticizing the country's stance toward refugees.
Sweden: A man donned a sword and attacked a nearby school, killing a student and teacher assistant and injuring others. Witnesses say he attacked only dark-skinned people. The attack came as many in Sweden are trying to stem the flow of refugees.â€¨â€¨
United Kingdom: UK leader David Cameron infamously referred to refugees as a “swarm.” The issue becomes contentious as the new leader of Labour takes a much more pro-refugee stance than his predecessors.
Alongside this violence are rising political victories for Europe's far-right. In Switzerland, the anti-migrant Swiss People's Party alongside another right-wing party now holds nearly half of that country's parliament. The political sands are shifting quickly.