FEATURED | European Refugee Crisis - The EU Perspective

FEATURED | European Refugee Crisis - The EU Perspective

By Phillip Paul Dennis BA (Hons) LCGI

Introduction

The huge volume of migration flooding into mainland Europe is showing little sign of slowing. Individual countries have taken differing stands on how to deal with the crises. Germany, for example, have welcomed the refugees. Hungary have closed their borders and turned them away. Croatia has taken a different stance and set up stop camps for those traveling through, where they receive; food, water, medical checks, and are sent on their way 24 hours later. The different opinions for those dealing with this situation at their borders has indeed caused confusion amongst the European Union member states.There are of course differing concerns from individual heads of State, and, public opinion is divided. So what are the primary objectives of the EU when faced with such a dilemma?

FEATURED | European Refugee Crisis - The EU Perspective

The Dilemma

In an effort to tackle the dilemma between humanitarian determinates to help the refugees and concern over practicalities, the EU member heads of State met for talks in an informal meeting to
address the issues On the 23rd September 2015. They are as follows;
  • decide on practical priorities for immediate application
  • discuss how to respond to long term migratory challenges, the protection of the EU external borders and the external assistance to refugees and countries in our neighbourhood
EU leaders agreed on a list of priorities
  • assist Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and other countries in dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis
  • mobilise at least 1 billon additional funding for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food program
  • reinforce cooperation and dialogue with Turkey at all levels
  • assist the countries of the Western Balkans in the management of refugee flows
  • increase funding to address the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa
  • tackle the dramatic situation at the EU external borders and strengthen their control
  • assist frontline member states in the establishment of hotspots, to ensure a correct
  • identification of migrants and at the same time ensure relocation and returns.

(Sumario: 24 September 2015, Brussels - On 23 September, EU leaders held an informal meeting to
discuss the current refugee crisis and migration policy)

Statement by EU heads of state or government on the informal meeting on migration

In a statement made by the European Commission (25/9/2015) the EU set out to inform the scale of the problem and the complexities related to border control for the nations concerned. The commission
announced; 

"Tonight we met to deal with the unprecedented migration and refugee crisis we are facing. We decided on a number of immediate priorities and had an in-depth discussion on how to achieve long-term sustainable solutions." ( Source EU Commission - Response to Refugee Crisis - 25/9/2015)

Objectives:

The detailed objectives were published in the European Commission Statement ;
  • respond to the urgent needs of refugees in the region by helping the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Programme and other agencies with at least an additional 1 billion euros.
  • assist Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and other countries in dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis, including through a substantial increase of the EU's Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis ("Madad Fund")
  • reinforce the dialogue with Turkey at all levels, including at the upcoming visit of the Turkish President (5 October), in order to strengthen our cooperation on stemming and managing the migratory flows
  • assist the Western Balkan countries in handling the refugee flows, including through precession instruments, as well as ensure a speedy and solid preparation of the Western Balkans route conference (8 October)
  • increase the funding of the Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa through additional contributions by Member States, and ensure an optimal preparation of the Valletta Summit (11-12 November) to achieve maximum progress;
  • tackle the dramatic situation at our external borders and strengthen controls at those borders, including through additional resources for Frontex, EASO and Europol, and with personnel and equipment from Member States;
  • meet requests from front-line Member States for assistance by the institutions, the agencies and other Member States in order to ensure identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants (hot spots) and at the same time ensure relocation and returns, at the latest by November 2015;
  • enhance the funding of the Emergency Fund for Asylum, Integration and Migration and the Internal Security Fund-Borders.
(Source - Statement by EU heads of state or government on the informal meeting on migration - 24th
/9/2015)

European Bodies to Assist

In order to meet these objectives the commission concluded that it was satisfied with the meeting and
a number of proposals were put forward including bodies and agencies to help in the crisis, including a funding proposal to further assist.
  • The European Border Agency (Frontex) will help the most affected Member states to identify, register and fingerprint people arriving at our borders. And help return those who do not have a right to stay.
  • The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) will help process asylum applications.
  • Our police and judicial cooperation Agencies (Europol and Eurojust) will help carry out security screenings and gather information to dismantle cruel smuggler and trafficker networks.

(Source European Commission News | 24/09/2015 )

EU Commission Finance

In an effort to assist through additional financial support the European commission put forward a funding proposal and published a press release, through EU News. This stated; "This meeting was the opportunity for President Juncker to present the Commission's proposals to respond to specific, urgent needs, for example:"
  • €100 million more for emergency assistance for the most affected Member States,
  • €600 million more for Frontex, the European Asylum Support Office and Europol in 2016,
  • €200 million more for the World Food Programme in 2015, UNHCR and other organisations.
  • 300 million more for EU humanitarian aid in 2016
  • and more funds to stabilise our immediate neighbourhood, including through additional money for the EU Regional Trust Funds for Syria and Africa and up to 1 billion for Turkey for refugeerelated actions.

(Source European Commission News | 24/09/2015 )

Extra funding can only be defined as a welcomed initiative for all concerned. However, with the crisis being at the point of EU emergency meeting, funding initiatives for humanitarian aid in 2016 seem to contradict the urgent need for those currently travelling across EU borders: and those patrolling their State boundaries. This, it could be suggested, is rather directed at sustainable development in the wider context.


Conclusion

Although the EU meetings were amicable, and progress was made, it does appear attempts to deal with problem lack urgency: especially in the wake of the statement made by President Juncker who said: "The final statement is allowing us to work on that basis and that is exactly what we will be doing in the next coming days. The October European Council meeting will return to the issue of migration." (Source European Commission News | 24/09/2015)

Considering the scale of the crisis (the largest humanitarian crisis since world war 2) October is a long way off for those concerned. Further to this, issues which people have raised still need attention if the EU is to fully deal with the problem. For example; Housing the migrant population ? Differentiating between those who have genuinely fled as civilians in a conflict zone from those who pose a threat to society as part of a terror threat network ? What mechanisms can we use to process refugees, which is universally accepted by all members of the EU ?

One could argue, there is still much work to be done before the migrant crisis can be resolved. Not all the measures announced have an outline time line for implementation, with further meetings required in the coming months. - At present, the EU framework and mechanisms to deal with mass immigration appear incomplete.

About The Author:

Phillip Paul Dennis (C-1610-2016) is an inspector, combining academic and office skills with practical work based skills which enabled him to attain First Article Inspector status. 
   
Formally educated at Portsmouth University, reading geography and geographical science, he graduated with honour, and successfully completed an independent research dissertation in geopolitics by conducting a geographical enquiry into the social contract theory and the development of nation-states.  In 2010 he achieved a UK-TEFL Cert at Cambridge UK, and was previously awarded distinction by the London City and Guilds Institute for computer aided engineering in 1992.

In 2013 he was part of the university alumni networking group, attending events & functions, and has represented geography & geographical science as a delegate for a reception evening at the House of Lords, in Westminster, London. 

Cite This Article:

Dennis, P.P. "FEATURED | European Refugee Crisis - The EU Perspective" IndraStra Global 02, no. 02 (2016): 0034. http://www.indrastra.com/2016/01/FEATURED-European-Refugee-Crisis-EU-Perspective-002-02-2016-0034.html | ISSN 2381-3652 |   

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