The World’s Refugee Crisis Part II

The most important route for refugees to Europe right now therefore runs through Turkey – up to the coast and out to sea to nearby Greek islands such as Lesbos. There they are put ashore and then head north through the Balkans , often via Hungary before entering Austria. For many of them, the ultimate goal is Germany or Sweden. The reason they want to go there is very simple: These countries have already received many refugees from Syria. Many of the refugees who are now on their way therefore have friends, acquaintances or relatives in these countries. These can act as a bridgehead and network to help in completely new environments.

4: Consequences of the large influx

What is now unfolding at Europe’s borders is a refugee crisis that has gotten out of control , and this has several unfortunate consequences . One is that the established EU rules such as the Dublin Protocol have been set aside without new, common driving rules. has been established. We therefore see that some EU countries – Germany, Austria and Sweden – have a liberal immigration policy approach to the refugee crisis. Others such as Hungary and several other Eastern European EU countries are very restrictive . When the EU countries – at least in the short term – do not seem to find a common European policy, it helps to strengthen the chaotic situation. Many people will apparently try to get into Europe – and preferably to their preferred EU country – before the door is closed.

Furthermore, the uncontrolled influx of illegal networks makes a lot of money from transporting refugees, not only across the sea, but also further up in Europe. In the beginning, there were several different types of networks and actors involved. Some had a typical ethnic character ; they assisted with the transport of people from the same ethnic group. Others were more profit-oriented, but they were small, unprofessional and non-violent. This has changed as the number of refugees has increased and the profit opportunities have risen sharply.

Groups and networks that previously mostly smuggled cigarettes and drugs into Europe have moved to transport people. The profits are at least as great as in the smuggling of cigarettes and drugs. And the chance of being caught and severely punished is much lower. This development is unfortunate: it strengthens transnational criminal networks , something no one benefits from. Furthermore, it inevitably means that it is not the weakest refugees with the greatest need for protection who come to Europe, but simply those with the most money.

It is not geographical proximity alone that leads to so many refugees from Syria now arriving in Europe. Resources also play a role, and this group of refugees generally has more to deal with than people who have fled the conflict in the Central African Republic or from northern Nigeria, a country located in Africa according to These are lucky if they get as far as a primitive refugee camp in a neighboring country.

5: What can we do?

What can we do about this? We must accept that the current refugee regime presupposes that the majority of the world’s refugees will receive protection and shelter in the surrounding areas . Only a few can be brought out to be protected in the rich part of the world. Ever since the 1940s, we have taken this regime for granted. Vulnerable states and poor societies have then also shown an impressive capacity and ability to integrate.

But in the countries that house the majority of the world’s 59.5 million refugees, competition for local resources has now become fierce and the political situation is often unstable. When the number of people on the run increases so sharply as now, it means that the ability and willingness to accept them – which we have taken for granted – is becoming so congested that it can collapse .

Until now, the richest part of the world has responded to the refugee challenge by sending money and helping to secure the livelihoods of the refugees. This is no longer enough, nor will the UN get the resources promised for the work of refugees in the near future. At a conference in August 2015, the UN coordinator for emergency aid stated that the world organization had only received about a third of the funds they needed for 2015. The rich countries’ response thus presupposes that refugee life is short so that the burden is not too great for poor states and host populations .

Excerpt from the Zaatari camp in Jordan

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