The recent influx of refugees into Europe–the worst refugee crisis it has faced since World War II–has left the continent reeling and other countries either scrambling to find a solution or secure their own borders. What, exactly, is the EU doing about it, and what should they be doing? You can find out the following articles. For more, check out the live recording from our event on the topic last week here.
Assessing the EU and Britain’s Response to the Migrant Crisis: Time for a Foresight Approach?: Edward Wanyonyi looks at the EU and UK’s reactions to the refugee crisis and suggests an alternate approach.
While the British society is quick to celebrate the achievements of Mo Farah, a citizen of migrant heritage, the current Tory leadership has not been shy to assert and defend its disdain of immigrants irrespective of the reasons- poverty or conflict. To them, Britain’s ‘way of life’ is threatened by the ‘swarm of immigrants’ as David Cameron recently remarked while in a tour of Vietnam in response to the Calais crisis. More recent pronouncements have presented the position that ‘migrants think Britain is lined with gold’ and therefore Her Majesty’s welfare system is a strong incentive. Such a position has often served to legitimise the current militarised response to the crisis that is flawed on two conceptual errors. First, the EU and Britain have nothing to do with the ongoing conflicts and state of deprivation, poverty in source countries and second, throwing money- in this case, the use of aid to establish micro enterprises will provide a stronger incentive for potential migrants to stay in their countries. Nothing could be further from the truth and here is why.
The Migration Puzzle: In this article, PS21 fellow Jack Goldstone explores the conundrum that Europe faces in responding to the migration crisis as well as possible solutions, noting that this is not a new problem and will not let up any time in the near future.
The experience gained now in screening, settling, and integrating migrants will pay off in the future. Someday the wars in Libya and Syria will end. Yet the population of Africa is set to grow from just over one billion today to almost three billion people by 2060; the populations of the Middle East and Central and South Asia, from Iraq to Afghanistan, will similarly grow by hundreds of millions during this period. Given the poor quality of government in these regions, and likely future wars and climate disasters, Europe will continue to see millions seeking to enter its relative security and prosperity every decade in the years to come.
EU’s Response to Migration Crisis is Too Little, Too Late: Similarly, Katie Rashid explains why the EU’s response to the crisis isn’t good enough, and presents an option that has worked well in the past.
The question we are left with is why the EU has been so late to take action. With more than 430,000 asylum applications filed back in 2013 and the same conflicts raging that have brought in a steady stream of refugees for years, the European Union should have seen this coming. That the EU is only now scrambling to find an approach to this situation with no agreement in sight is just one more disturbing reality of the migration crisis.
Meanwhile, in Australia: The Other Migration Crisis: Australia has also seen a huge influx of refugees in the past year and–like the EU–is not handling it very well. Cecilia Diemont sheds light on this important but underappreciated topic.
Whereas European media is inundated with new policy developments and opinions concerning the recent influx of asylum seekers arriving at Europe’s borders, you rarely read about the controversial immigration policies of Europe’s ally down under. While Australia may be known more for its beaches, barbecues and backpackers, what is happening to asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia by boat should not escape the debate.
Asylum seekers who embark on the ocean journey to Australia, often setting out from Sri Lanka or Indonesia but in some cases coming from as far as Syria, Iran and Afghanistan face one of three fates. None of these three fates involve asylum seekers reaching Australian shores. Instead they are met at sea, often still in international waters, by an Australian naval or customs ship that forcibly intercepts them.
I Don’t Know You, I Don’t Like You: The Rise of Anti-Immigrant Movements in Europe: Finally, for a little context into what refugees face upon actually reaching Europe, check out this article by Sandy Schumann.
Both UKIP and Pegida are supported by the general public for its anti-immigrant policies. What is surprising though is that these supporters are primarily living in regions where there are very few migrants or foreigners. UKIP (Image 1) received most endorsement in constituencies with a low proportion of immigrants. And in Saxony, the German State where the Pegida movement started, only 2.2% of the population are foreigners.