Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Navigating New Challenges: The European Union’s Handling of Migration

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 By Anna van der Vliet.

Tragedy after televised tragedy brought the plight of migrants to the world’s attention in the summer of 2014. Since that time, European  Union has adjusted itself to cope with the largest influx of refugees since the end of the Second World War. Only this month, the number of refugees to Europe surpassed one million people.

While member states continue to implement national policies on refugee acceptance and the political world is confronted with stark polarisation in the face of such a crisis, the European Union works to provide overarching policies to ensure that neither their member-states’ sovereignty, the security of Europe , nor the rights of the refugee population are compromised. The European Union is under immense pressure and as such suffers from some organisational weaknesses, as pointed out by the European Council on Foreign Relations. Despite this, the climate remains hopeful.

In their October report entitled “EU Global Strategy: Internal and External Challenges on the Refugee Crisis”, the ECFR brought to attention the vital role of trust between EU member states and the institutions managing the crisis response. The situation as is  suffers from a fundamental shortage of such confidence. The Council recommends a renewed commitment to trust, flexibility, and resolve, all of which are instrumental to the EU’s ability to “weather this storm” (ECFR). This trust can be achieved by placing emphasis on both the sharing of intelligence as well as the commitment to realistic financial pledges.

The political and economic sacrifices required by the EU are immense. However, amidst the difficult task of settling an estimated three million migrants by 2017, a positive aspect has emerged for member states ready to take on the challenge. The EU has recently published a report regarding the economic effects of the large inflow of immigrants that declares a net economic gain of approximately 0.25% to be had by 2017. The ambitiousness required to overcome the crisis will demand intense cooperation on all fronts, but perhaps as time goes by further economic and socio-cultural benefits will be unearthed.

Though the road ahead is long and unpredictable for the European Union and migrants alike, it is up to policy makers continue to seek renewed trust and realistically commit to flexibility to ensure that overcoming the so-called “crisis” can be looked back upon as a high point in international history.


International Organization for Migration http://www.iom.int/






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