Sunday 22 July 2018

Europe must act on migration crisis

Distinguishing migrants from asylum seekers and refugees is not always a clear-cut process. Stock image
Distinguishing migrants from asylum seekers and refugees is not always a clear-cut process. Stock image
Editorial

Editorial

European leaders have hailed decisions reached in marathon talks last week as a breakthrough in solving the "migration crisis" which has engulfed the continent. While some progress has been made, many issues remain outstanding, particularly the controversial question of refugee quotas.

As with the sovereign debt crisis in recent years, national interests have consistently trumped a common European response. Europe tends to move slowly when faced with such critical issues because of the various complexities involved. However, this issue has become more urgent, not least because of the rise in extreme far-right populism across the continent, ultimately caused by what has been a collective failure to put in place a common European asylum policy.

The current situation has been brought on by political upheavals in the Middle East, Africa and south Asia which are reshaping migration trends in Europe. The number of illegal border-crossing detections in the EU started to surge in 2011, as thousands of Tunisians began to arrive following the onset of the Arab Spring. Sub-Saharan Africans who had previously migrated to Libya followed in 2011 and 2012, fleeing unrest.

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