What is the EU Doing About Refugee Crisis?
The EU has an important role to play in tackling the refugee crisis. It has to be able to protect the right to asylum and make refugees productive from the very start. It should also put an end to national egoism and selfish indifference. The EU should focus on the common good instead of the self-interest of some countries.
Restoring confidence between countries on EU’s external borders and states where most asylum seekers have ended up
The European Council met in April in a haze of political incoherence. Some advisers told German leaders that they had no option but to accept asylum seekers, while others insisted that European asylum rules left no room to deter irregular arrivals. The resulting legal fatalism fueled a sense of helplessness. Nevertheless, the Council began a two-year dance between hard-headed steps to resolve the crisis and pressure to respond to the ‘European values’ underlying its decisions.
A deal with Turkey might help resolve the crisis, but it’s not clear whether this would be enough. The EU needs to work with Turkey to restore confidence and ensure that it continues to protect its citizens. In the meantime, Germany was facing a mass outbreak of sexual violence committed by men of North African and Middle Eastern backgrounds. As a result, Merkel was on the defensive and acting on advice from her interior minister, Jan Hecker. She was also out of patience with the Brussels institutions and allied with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
The 2015 crisis exposed the interdependence of EU countries on asylum policy and border control. It threatened to change fundamental self-perceptions in many countries. Greece and Italy could no longer be transit states, while central and eastern Europeans could no longer view the EU as a mere cash cow. Germany and Sweden, which were formerly conspicuously generous to asylum seekers, had to make tough decisions.
The Asylum Procedures Regulation would also introduce new grounds for accelerated border procedures. Such procedures would also apply to third countries. However, the threshold for recognition is arbitrary, based on the first-instance protection rate that is below 20%. This assumption relies on an incomplete picture of protection needs and does not take into account higher instance decisions made on appeal or review. Moreover, the recognition rate is not uniform across the EU.
This strategy has proved ineffective. Despite a growing number of asylum seekers, the EU has failed to achieve its aim of restoring confidence between the states on the EU’s external borders and the states where most asylum seekers have ended up. The EU is preparing to boost Frontex’s capacity to deal with the crisis. However, the EU has failed to achieve its target of 5,000 interceptions per month.
Taking the right approach is crucial to restoring confidence between states on EU’s external borders and the states where the majority of asylum seekers have ended up. For this to happen, a coordinated approach needs to be implemented. If the European Council wants to prevent future migrant flows, it must first ensure that its citizens are comfortable with the migrants they are accepting.
The EU must stop allowing these “chain pushbacks” and instead, insist on ensuring that asylum seekers are properly processed. Currently, Hungary is breaking its own rules by publicly pushing asylum seekers back to Serbia. This is not right for people fleeing for their lives. In such a situation, Hungary is violating the EU’s binding ruling.
Building barriers along borders
The EU is considering funding for border barriers in response to the refugee crisis. Lithuania requested the funding in a letter to the European Commission in early October. The request was co-signed by other Baltic states, as well as the Visegrad Group – Austria, Denmark, Cyprus, Greece, and Romania. France and Germany, however, did not sign the letter.
Building barriers along borders is a relatively cheap method of deterring migrants and asylum seekers from reaching Europe. This approach has become popular in Europe due to the deep division over immigration. Formerly, European leaders considered it their humanitarian duty to accept migrants from other countries, but now they are extracting political capital from talking tough on illegal immigration. In addition, the issue of migration has become separate from the calamities that led to the need for refugee protection.
Building walls along borders has a number of downsides. They have a significant indirect cost and do not do much to deter smugglers. Moreover, walls and fences are not foolproof and can only deflect the problem to another location. Furthermore, they increase the demand for smugglers, who charge more as the work becomes more difficult.
Some countries have responded by building walls and fences on their borders. However, they have underestimated the cost and the negative impact they have on a society. Walls have a tendency to erode social fabric and disrupt economic activity. Moreover, they interfere with regular movement and alter negotiation and cooperation between people across borders. These walls hamper the ability of communities to respond to local and national crises.
As the refugee crisis continues to grow, the EU is seeking new ways to deal with the crisis. One solution is to build fences along the borders to help prevent refugees from entering their countries. These structures are often illegal, and should be discouraged. The European Union is now attempting to implement a deal with Turkey to help take back new arrivals.
EU Member States must stop making these decisions without due consideration for the human rights of refugees. These countries should be developing mechanisms for receiving and processing asylum seekers. The EU must show leadership in the field of refugee and migration policies. They must also be more compassionate towards migrants. The EU’s decision to build walls along borders is not the best option. The EU must look into other solutions to the crisis and find the best solution for its citizens.
The EU needs to protect its external borders to protect its citizens. Building barriers is the only way to ensure that Europeans do not become victims of mass immigration from illegal migrants. Last week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban wrote a letter to the European Commission asking for funding for building fences along their border.
The fences created a bottleneck and a refugee camp along the Balkan route. At least 15,000 people were forced to stay on the Greek island of Lesbos after the fencing was put up. Many more sought refuge in Bosnia, but the government has struggled to keep the flow under control.
Supporting subnational governments to administer refugee-related tasks
In order to be able to deliver refugee-related tasks, subnational governments must be adequately funded. While central governments typically handle refugee registration, emergency housing, civic integration, and returns, subnational governments generally handle education services, social welfare, and permanent housing. In the UK, for example, local authorities will receive PS10,500 per refugee for support services, with an extra PS10,000 for those with children.