Bleak outlook for Europe's migration crisis in 2016

The crisis is hardly likely to go away in 2016. The hardball confrontational tactics that led to a solution of the euro crisis are not applicable to the immigration crisis. Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe via Greece do not care if Greece is threatened with suspension from the Schengen Area by the other member states.

Inflows may decline this winter because of weather and remain stable through early next year. Accordingly, little political activity should be expected on this issue early in the year. EU leaders during the Dutch EU presidency will comfort themselves with the fact that at least things are not as bad as they were in the fall of 2015. Once the number of immigrants rises again, however, the public will demand more effective solutions. As discussed in my proposals for an MMU, such solutions will need to include partial surrender of national sovereignty over border control issues, establishment of an entirely new comprehensive common border control and coast guard organization in Europe, and agreement to pool substantial new fiscal resources.

Whether the synchronized French and German election cycles in 2017 will play a role is an open question. But the political window to do something will close by mid-2016. Hopefully, the prospect of undermining European integration will generate political will in Paris and Berlin. A far-reaching Franco-German summer initiative in 2016 to deal with the problem would be joined by at least the Mediterranean EU members and the Benelux countries. A surrender of relevant national sovereignty, combined with adequate national fiscal resources and the vision to establish a common European external border control organization, offers Europe the best option to solve the migration crisis next year.