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Europe is torn between upholding its values and pursuing its interests in the multiple crises over refugees, challenges to the rule of law, relations with Russia and Turkey, and Britain's membership that are shaking the European Union. Political and economic interests are mostly prevailing over the EU's declared values and governance standards, but it is not clear that the outcomes are any more effective.After more than a million migrants flooded into Europe last year, EU governments are divided on whether the bloc should give priority to its commitment to give asylum to refugees, or whether the main aim should be to toughen border controls and pay other countries to keep potential asylum-seekers at bay.Within the EU executive, officials are reluctant to appear to be lecturing a democratically elected Polish government as it goes about implementing campaign promises.Indeed, Europe's willingness to seek a formula to permit Britain to deny fellow EU citizens who enter its labor market the same benefits as its own nationals highlights a willingness to compromise on core values for the sake of expediency – this case to try to ensure Britons vote to remain in the EU in a forthcoming referendum.While the European Parliament, which sees itself as Europe's conscience on human rights, is likely to criticize Poland in a special debate this week which itself is a form of political punishment, other EU bodies are cautious.
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