The Tragedy of the 21st Century’s Europe
For refugees, asylum-seeking process in the EU is a major problem. On the one hand, the population of some member states does not welcome African or Middle Eastern immigrants. On the other hand, there are no more places for immigrants in the EU, thus the applications are being rejected. This makes us wonder how effective are the EU’s responses to the refugee’s desperate calls.
George Soros is a Hungarian refugee of the communist era. Most recently he was interviewed on Channel 4 News about the European Union’s inability to effectively deal with the problem of immigration. The Journalist asked: “Europe is suffering a refugee crisis. Immigrants are risking their lives to reach the United Kingdom, Italy and Greece. It is a problem near Calais and in the Mediterranean. Mister Soros, what does this tell us about the great European project?. George Soros responded: “It tells us that it is failing. Millions of refugees have rejected applications. There are 28 different countries with different policies, and some of the policies are directly contradicting each other. And this creates chaos, which subsequently turns the public opinion against the immigrants, who are themselves the victims.”
Truly, in each EU Member state, the situation differs. Some states have budgetary limitations and cannot afford keeping more than 1.160 refugees a year (like eastern European countries). In other states, the public opinion is relatively aggressive to the increasing number of immigrants, who are discomforting the “traditional population” (such as the United Kingdom). The truth is that even the European legislation is problematic for two reasons. Firstly, according to the Dublin II regulation, the immigrants cannot apply for asylum in a country they want. Usually it is the first member state, which you reach. In practice, this normally means that any subsequent country where you apply will return you to the appropriate state”. Hence, the European countries situated closest to Africa and the Middle East will be approached first by the immigrants’ boats. That is the problem. If thousands of refugees go in the same European countries and are not allowed to go in other member states to seek asylum, then there will be no more places for other refugees.
A single ticket from Ethiopia to Stockholm costs 400 euros. To fly from Lebanon to London is 400 euros. To fly from Egypt to Italy you pay 320 euros. So, what stops the refugees from flying to Europe?
With regards to the above-mentioned boats, the second reason, which demonstrates the problem of the European legislation, is the inability of a refugee to choose the cheapest method of travelling to Europe to apply for asylum. Have you ever wondered why the immigrants choose to get into dangerously crowded boats to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach the European Continent? As Professor Hans Rosling – renounced for the gapminder website – said in April 2015: ”A single ticket from Ethiopia to Stockholm costs 400 euros. To fly from Lebanon to London is 400 euros. To fly from Egypt to Italy you pay 320 euros. The price of a boat from Libya to Italy is reported by media to be 1000 euros or more. So, what stops the refugees from flying to Europe? It is the EU Directive 2001/51/EC that practically prevents those with no visa to board in an airplane. It is this this directive that is the reason for so many refugees dawning in the Mediterranean Sea.”
In conclusion, the immigration problem is an ongoing tragedy. Immigrants continuously suffer before and during their travel to Europe, and in many cases, when they reach the continent they are sent back because the asylum is full. Even if they are accepted, the public opinion can still be against the immigrants, and that does not make their lives easier. One solution is raising awareness for the refugees. We vaguely know through which horrors they have been through in their homeland or during their travel to Europe. Raising awareness in Europe thus will increase the degree of tolerance and support for the refugees. Another solution is finding job places for the refugees that have arrived. The population of Europe is in decline and that means that the labour is decreasing. Thus, Europe needs “a boost” to assure economic growth. That boost is a young motivated labor force, just like the immigrants.
Featured Image: Ggia (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:20151030_Syrians_and_Iraq_refugees_arrive_at_Skala_Sykamias_Lesvos_Greece_2.jpg), „20151030 Syrians and Iraq refugees arrive at Skala Sykamias Lesvos Greece 2“, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode