Refugee Crisis

France is Shirking its Duties

French President Francois Hollande (C-L) and Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani (C-R) embrace at the Mar Yousef church, which is sheltering displaced Iraqi Christians, in the Christian village of Ankawa, north of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq on September 12, 2014. Hollande said during a visit to Baghdad that France is ready to step up military assistance for Iraq, as global efforts to defeat jihadist fighters intensified. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED SAWAF (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED SAWAF/AFP/Getty Images)
French President François Hollande (C-L) and Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani (C-R) embrace in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq on September 12, 2014.  
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If France, one of the Europe’s leading economies, won’t step up to the plate in this refugee crisis, it sets a bad example for smaller, poorer, E.U. nations.

  • Facts


    • The French government has undertaken military actions such as air strikes in Libya and Syria.
    • France has four times fewer refugees per 1,000 inhabitants than Sweden.
    • The governmental real-estate authority said last week that there are at least 20,000 places available in state-owned buildings in France,
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Commentaries on the refugee crisis point fingers at two parties: the heartless east Europeans and the German chancellor who listens too closely to her heart. No one dares out the biggest offender: France, which bears a large share of responsibility for the ever-worsening crisis.

From the former rightist President Nicolas Sarkozy to his leftist successor François Hollande, there has been an astonishing continuity of policies that favor flight-promoting actions while fending off refugees.

Mr. Sarkozy bombed the empire of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to smithereens without having the faintest idea about what should replace it. The hyperactive conservative provoked a mini-Iraq, allowing al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to funnel refugees to Europe as a commercial undertaking.

So far, his successor, Mr. Hollande, hasn’t tried to change much. At least he sent soldiers to Mali to limit the spread of terror from Libya in a southerly direction. Mr. Hollande would have been happy to bomb another dictator out of office, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, but now he wants to conduct air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State and is cozying up to Mr. Assad.

It’s an astounding change of course, since it is blindingly obvious by now that escalating a war in the air doesn’t create fewer refugees.

It may be vigorous in its military behavior, but the French government is reticent when it comes to accepting refugees. The trek undertaken by hundreds of thousands leads from Hungary through Austria and Germany all the way to Sweden. This spring, however, when migrants sought to open a new route from Italy to France, the country got rough, closing its border at Ventimiglia while police forced the refugees back to Italy.

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