As news companies broadcast alarming images of displaced families protesting the Kelepi Train Station in Budapest , people climbing on to overcrowded dinghies as they prepare for their journey across international waters, the lifeless body of 3 year Aylan, which washed up ashore a Turkish beach ,we’re constantly being told that the Crisis is an European Problem as we watch the latest headlines from the comfort of our own homes – however the cold truth is, it’s not just an EUROPEAN problem. It’s a global problem.
The summer Refugee Crisis has far exceeded that of any of the previous Refugee crisis faced Europe since possibly World War 2, as violence and civil wars displace millions from their homes. The Syrian Civil War alone has created millions of refugees add on the fact that ongoing unrest in Somalia , Iraq and Afghanistan has displaced much more whereas a minority of the migrants were motivated solely by Economic Betterment.
Ironically the ongoing Refugee Crisis has displayed a similarity to the Eurozone Crisis , where the problem effects all member nations but on a country level the problem is individual. Akin to the Euro Crisis the responses of nations have varied with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Genitili states in true Apocalyptic fashion that the crisis threatens the “soul” of Europe
Alas most European countries do not fancy themselves to be immigrant nations and fear the inflow of foreigners will destabilize their comfort based lifestyles . Mirroring this is the religious based fears Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban stated that Hungary will not accept large scale Muslim Immigration , similar sentiments were echoed by nations such as a Poland , Bulgaria and Slovakia who lean towards Christian Immigration.
However German Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken an uncharacteristically bold stand by denouncing the xenophobic throes of Eastern European Leaders and welcoming refugees with open arms – as the nation expects up to 800,000 asylum seekers to register by the end of the year. In what many consider an incredibly bold move “Mama Merkel” has emerged as an unlikely savior to the millions seeking asylum.
The question remains will Germany be able to support the massive influx of refugees? The answer is no. The brainstorming held by EU officials on Saturday in Luxembourg was unsuccessful as Ministers failed to come to common consensus over the best course of action, particularly on a Quota-by-Quota for countries.”Whoever thinks that a “barbed wire fence” around Austria or withdrawal from the EU is not going to solve the problem”. Europe needs to wake up without letting Germany bear the brunt of the problem. Countries like UK need to step up without opting out.
The partial suspension of the Dublin Regulation by the Czech Republic and Germany was a smart move in my book. Considering that the Regulation has failed to provide fair and efficient protection to asylum seekers which has put asylum seekers at risk of being returned to persecution. However other member states such as Hungary, Slovakia and Poland officially stated their denial to any possible revision or enlargement of the Dublin Regulation, specifically referring to the eventual introduction of new mandatory or permanent quotas for solidarity measures.
I mentioned earlier that the refugee crisis has been branded a EUROPEAN problem by media outlets but let’s face it, it’s not just a European Problem.
An obvious solution would be to encourage other countries namely the so called ‘safe haven of Asylum Seekers’ such as Canada , Australia and Brazil,(Canada which accepted around 1300 Syrians as of August, Australia around 2200 in August and Brazil less than 2000 Syrians since May) to accept more refugees into their countries in order to ease the burden on the EU as well as to provide a safe haven.
But is this feasible in both the short and long term ? It depends really – Let’s take Greece as an example , alongside Italy the country serves as an entry point to Europe to many refugees , if the EU were to go ahead and assign “refugee quotas” to bloc members then it’s bound to affect Greece in an incredibly adverse manner. First of all the country will have to divert a large amount from its budget to provide support to refugees. But considering the face that the country already has a large budget deficit , the economy will probably have to borrow more money from fellow bloc members.
This shouldn’t worry the debt ridden economy so much, seeing as former Prime Minister Tsipras in his highly optimistic re-election campaign promises that if he’s reelected he will “soften the edges” of the deal whilst upholding it. Of course if everything works out according to plan and Greece is able to support thousands of refugees the country will encounter an increase in unemployment beyond its alarming 60% unemployment rate. HOWEVER, the USA was built on the hopes and dreams of immigrants , will the influx of refugees help raise the crumbling temples of Athens above the rocky ridges of Mount Rushmore?
Let’s take a look at the United States of America – unlike Greece the economy has managed to recover substantially with employments steadily rising towards the end of summer the US is certainly in a position to support thousands of refugees. However one mistake made by the USA was the fact that the patriotic nation provided arms to the Syrian rebels in order to combat the Islamic State , whilst this was done less attention was paid to the plight of those caught in the crossfire , this eventually led us to where we are today.
If International aid were diverted to protect citizens and move them away from conflict zones rather than arm them with tools designed to inflict chaos then yes things may have turned out differently .Stephen O’Brien the UN aid chief has urged wealthy countries to increase how much they give in international aid so that refugees are not forced to seek safety in Europe. To that end however Britain spends more than the rest of Europe put together in providing international aid. Further David Cameron recently had a change of heart as he announced that the UK is prepared to house thousands of refugees. All in all in the long run as the dust finally settles on the Arabian battlefield world leaders may hear the summons for international aid to help restore the bomb ridden Syrian cities and the lives of those affected.
The time for talking and indecision has ended , we can no longer ignore the problem affecting millions , we must stop treating it as a EUROPEAN problem – it’s become the world’s problem. It’s become our problem . It’s time to step up.