Migrant crisis: What will/should the EU do?

How the EU will/should react on the migrant crisis at this moment in your opinion? The EU justice and interior officials will meet for the emergency summit but so far the EU/member states have been criticized for slow and not sufficient response. And French FM Fabius said that the behavior of some countries re migrant crisis is scandalous. Read few comments.

Daniela IrreraAssistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Catania

The Dublin Treaty is no more working, Chancellor Merkel has very recently said. Indeed, tragic events about migrants are sadly becoming a daily trend in blogs, newspapers and social media. Policy-makers, journalists, experts, academics, everybody complain about the need to stop smuggling of human beings and the continuous deaths of innocent people, including women and children, and to have efficient policies and rapid measures to manage the emergency. The recent events have emphasized the importance of the two main routes (the Mediterranean and the Balkans) which have complicated things on the table. What can be observed, however, is a constant and wide schizophrenia among Member states and at EU level. On one hand, everybody agrees on the moral need to stop atrocities and to do something concrete, on the other, countries are divided between national security and closeness (like UK and Hungary), the confortable awareness of being a mere transit (Greece, Macedonia, Serbia) and the slow and hectic attempts to welcome migrants.  As for boat people, the Mediterranean is crossed by Frontex military operations as well as rescue boats provided by MSF and MOAS, in a continue and desperate attempt to avoid more deaths. In respect of this messy and dark scenario, nobody can say that this crisis is easy to solve, or that there is a unique way to manage. As I have already said in another post of this blog, a grand strategy based on effective cooperation, less affected by state preferences and more focused on the common priorities is needed. It obviously implies the involvement of political and technical competence, but also requires two main things: a different, more flexible and less restrictive concept of (state, regional, European) border and a serious harmonisation of the asylum procedures through the transformation (or definitive change) of the Dublin Treaty.

Lorenzo NannettiInternational Affairs Analyst

The things the EU should do are the same as months ago: changing the Dublin II regulations, spread migrants over the various countries more (this would reduce the trafficking inside EU), a serious policy towards solving issues in migrants starting points and routes in Africa. In addition, EU should help Southern countries build up better facilities and programs to deal with the arrivals – that means more funds to help process requests faster, build a database of places where migrants can be housed in a distributed manner until processed (ie: no ghettos) so locals aren’t scared but still migrants receive help in a more coherent and less chaotic way. Some of these (especially on the starting points and routes) aren’t quick… but we’re not even at starting point!

There are lots of different ways you can do some of these. For example, if Germany hosts syrians regardless of Dublin II, other countries could do the same for other nationalities (say, Italy for Eritreans, etc…) and spread the “weight”.

This said, I’m not optimistic on having a shared solution, exactly because some nations/governments are too busy feeding their public opinion with false solutions (Hungary, Great Britain,…) instead of finding a common system. I hope to be proved wrong.

The point is this: WHO stated the migrant flows will likely continue up to 2050, and I agree: migration isn’t an “emergency” because numbers are rather small compared to EU population. It’s a structural thing. EU should take a structural response – in housing, in integration policies, and in opposing traffickers and flows in Africa (not in the Med, that is too late).

Roxana Barbulescu, ‎Research Fellow, ESRC Centre for Population Change University of Southampton

The image of the dead 3 year old baby from Syria on Turkish shores is a reminder of the innocent victims of the refugee crisis and the need for an effective pan-European solution. The war in Syria has created the displacement of large population in need of protection outside Syria. We know that the great majority of Syrian refugees are hosted by the neighbouring states in the region with Turkey providing protection for 1.9 million Syrians, 1.1 million in Lebanon, 629,000 in Jordan and 249,000 in Iraq, see UN website. Only a small percentage make their way to EU: 134,000 Syrians have requested asylum in 2014, according to UN figures.

While Syrians remain the largest group, asylum seekers from conflict-torn areas in particular Eritrea, Afghanistan and sub-Sub-Saharan are making the same dangerous trips to Europe. There are two clear routes that asylum seekers take to reach Europe, either by sea from Libya across the Central Mediterranean into Italy, a route on which 2,500 people lost their lives only this year: and, a second route via Turkey by sea into Greece or by land into the Balkans and Hungary.

The recent surge of the route through the Balkans with thousands of asylum seekers crossing daily into FYROM and Hungary has created a new crisis at the top of EU leadership. Essentially, not one but two solutions are needed. The first one is one long-term solution that will help consolidate the asylum model in Europe not only for the current crisis but also for processing asylum claims in a fairer and more effective way in future crises. EU leaders point out to more cooperation with the countries of origin of these asylum seekers and put together a common list of repatriating people whose asylum application has been denied.

The second solution requires immediate action with the asylum seekers who are arriving in the EU. As the crisis evolves and the number of casualties is on the rise, there is more consensus amongst the European member states on taking action jointly, member-states continue to disagree on what the best course of action might be. Sweden and Germany opt for granting asylum to more people in need of protection. The administration in Berlin has announced it is expecting 800 thousand asylum seekers in 2015 alone. On the other hand, UK and The Netherlands chose to increase foreign aid to the countries neighbouring Syria and in this way supporting financially the asylum seekers who are already hosted by these countries.


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