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Europe faces two refugee crises — here is how to solve them

  • Author:naky
  • Source:www.diecastingpartsupplier.com
  • Release on:2015-06-25
Europe is facing its most serious migration crisis since the end of the second world war. It is more serious even than the Bosnian crisis of the 1990s, when close to 2m refugees fled west, for although the numbers now are smaller the nature of the outflow is different. Those refugees were granted temporary asylum and required to return to their place of origin when the conflict subsided. No such outcome is in prospect today.

Legally speaking, a refugee is a person outside his or her country of origin who had to flee to seek refuge from persecution or open warfare. It is understood that asylum will be sought in the first safe country reached; someone who leaves a country where there is no threat of persecution is no longer motivated by a quest for safety.

If you adopt this perspective, it is odd to say that Europe is on the receiving end of a massive refugee flow. Europe, as such, does not exist. On the one hand there are the countries of entry, namely Spain, Italy and Greece, which are quite content to let the arrivals land and discreetly move on to central and northern Europe. There are the likes of Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and the Baltic states, to which few people wish to emigrate, which are neither part of the problem nor of the solution. Finally there are the countries of destination such as Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Switzerland and Austria, to which many of the arrivals find their way.

Clearly these latter countries do not have unlimited capacity to absorb new arrivals and cannot realistically be required to integrate, over the next decades, an unending flow of migrants from Africa and the Middle East. And, while these countries need migrants, it is up to them to choose whom to accept.

What to do? Perhaps inspiration can be found in the case of the Vietnamese boat people, about 70,000 of whom arrived on the shores of various southeast Asian countries in 1989 alone. The situation seemed hopeless, and yet that year an honourable solution was found through dialogue and negotiation. Ultimately it worked. But it required imagination, creativity and political will.

In Europe, the key is to distinguish between two separate crises. The first is rooted in Syria’s civil war. It requires primarily an Arab solution, yet none is in the making. Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have been resettled, but not one of the countries that have offered permanent asylum is from the Arab world. It is clear that many of the Syrians who have been given temporary asylum in camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq will never be able to return. It would be reasonable for the wealthy countries of the Gulf to receive a quota of at least 1m refugees.

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