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Why do refugees come to Europe? , PhD Candidate, department of war studies
Middle Eastern countries are destinations for refugees, with the UN expecting the number in Jordan alone to exceed one million by the end of this year. That is a substantial burden for a country with a population of only 6. 5 million and a per capita GDP of just бе3,400 per year. With a population 10 times the size, per capita GDP 8 times as high, and just 170,000 refugees, the UK could certainly do more. But Jordan is struggling to supply all the refugees within the country with basic services like food, sanitation, and health care. Refugees are thus forced to continue onward to reach a better life, preferably in a rich country in Europe. The UN reports around 1. 2 million refugees in Lebanon, with most coming from Syria. The Lebanese government is notoriously ineffectual, unable to supply its own citizens with steady electricity or,. Its ability to care for the masses of refugees, even with the assistance of the UN, is therefore limited. It is thus no wonder many seek placement, through official channels or otherwise, in. Eugenio Lilli, department of war studies People fleeing armed conflict in the Middle East migrate to Europe because they see Europe as a place of peace and wealth compared to the violence and despair that characterise their home countries. However, such a trend should not be overemphasised.

For example, in the case of Syria, the data available clearly shows that the great majority of Syrian refugees has so far resettled in neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey and not in European countries. Pablo de Orellana, teaching fellow, department of war studies This is not a crisis of economic migration. The human tragedy in the Mediterranean is the humanitarian fallout of two wars that have no prospect of resolution. In Libya the fall of Muammar Gaddafi has left the country divided and spiralling into increased violence, while in Syria horrifying human rights abuses, particularly of religious and ethnic minorities, are a self-explanatory incentive to flee. It is now impossible to pretend that these refugees choose to become economic migrants, or that Western policy in Libya and Syria is unrelated. , research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC According to Frontex, the largest ethnic group of asylum-seekers that have entered the EU this year are Syrians, followed by Afghanis. The humanitarian catastrophe in Syria has been dramatic and the bulk of the displaced Syrians have so far sought refuge in other Arab countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, or Egypt. In contrast, some of the wealthier states of the region, most conspicuously Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, have shown very little willingness to let refugees in. , PhD candidate, department of political economy Our best evidence suggests that immigration is usually economically beneficial for host countries.

The majority of refugees arriving on European shores are able-bodied and unlikely to be an exception to this general rule. So the best way for Europe to help would be to offer immediate legal residency and access to labour markets. It might be politically expedient to restrict access to some welfare benefits but most migrants will be keen to work regardless. , department of war studies and founding chairman of King's College US Foreign Policy Research Group The only way to permanently ease the migrant situation in Europe is to get serious about solving the conflicts that make people flee their home countries in the first place. With regard to Syria, this has not been the case. Conversely, policies implemented by some international and regional actors have only compounded the situation there. Absent this long term solution, the. , research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC The failure of the EU's response stems from the fact that border protection and asylum processing have been left in the hands of individual Schengen countries. Assisting the refugees and processing asylum requests have become common pool problems, with individual countries not facing the common Schengen border having little incentive to help.

The idea of quotas, which would redistributing the burden more evenly across the Schengen space is laudable but will likely prove incompatible with the continuation of the freedom of movement in the EU. What is needed therefore, is a commonly administered asylum process, run by the EU, not by politicians in member states. The United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees came into force as long ago as 1951. Initially the Convention was used to protect European refugees after World War II, but in 1967 the Convention was expanded as the problem of displaced people spread around the world. The Convention lays down basic minimum standards for the treatment of refugees. Article 1 of the Convention also defines a refugee as, A person who is outside his or her country of nationality ; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to return there for fear of persecution. The Convention goes on to outline a refugee s rights including such things as freedom of religion and movement, the right to work, education and travel documents. It makes clear that refugees should not be returned to a country where they fear persecution. In return refugees are expected to respect the laws and regulations of the country they stay in.

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