Mi­grant cri­sis to be solved at home


Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

It is strange how ev­ery­body has only now jumped onto the ‘mi­grant’ band­wagon, call­ing for “some­thing to be done”, when the prob­lem had been star­ing us in the face for the past many years. As the abil­ity to ac­com­mo­date ten times more eco­nomic refugees than ever be­fore, the hu­man­i­tar­ian sup­port sys­tems have failed, while no one is talk­ing about solv­ing the root of the prob­lem.

On the one hand, EU mem­ber states with de­vel­oped economies that are en­joy­ing a boom in ex­ports (Ger­many, north­ern Europe), have seen their un­em­ploy­ment lev­els drop be­low the psy­cho­log­i­cal level of 5% and in some Ger­man towns even be­low 2%. This, in turn, has prompted many to open their doors to cheap mi­grant work­ers, the same way as Cal­i­for­nia and Texas tol­er­ate low­cost Mex­i­can labour, be­cause they all have a short­age in workhands. In the same way, many are de­lighted by the fact that the ma­jor­ity of the Syr­ian mi­grants (or vol­un­tary refugees) are the ones who can af­ford the $6-10,000 per per­son fee charged by the traf­fick­ers. Many of the Syr­i­ans have cash, enough to help them set­tle down with com­fort and a num­ber of them are highly ed­u­cated, sug­gest­ing that they will go for semi- and skilled work.

Alas, the same is not true for the refugees from cen­tral and north­ern Africa and other Mid­dle Eastern con­flict zones.

As crude as it may sound, even in the drown­ings and the deaths of mi­grants packed into trucks, there seems to be a two-tiered stan­dard of have and have-nots, judg­ing from their abil­ity to travel on-land through Tur­key, then with small dinghies to Greece and on­wards to the Skopje and Ser­bian borders in an ef­fort to reach western Europe.

It is clear that EU High Com­mis­sioner for For­eign Af­fairs Fed­er­ica Mogherini has in­her­ited a hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ter, com­pounded by her pre­de­ces­sor’s in­com­pe­tence to deal or at­tempt to me­di­ate in re­gional is­sues, from Libya to Ye­men, from Syria to Iraq.

The EU and the west has clearly failed and has no com­mon for­eign pol­icy to deal with these con­flicts, where states such as Qatar, Saudi Ara­bia and Tur­key pro­mote their own petty in­ter­ests, re­gard­less of the im­pact their al­liances have on the re­gion’s (in)sta­bil­ity. Even Iran is play­ing a dan­ger­ous game by fund­ing or mil­i­tar­ily sup­port­ing one or another side in or­der to es­tab­lish its hege­mony in parts of this world.

North­ern Europe may be able to af­ford to open its doors, for now, but the strain is on the south­ern pe­riph­ery states where res­cue and health ser­vices have been stretched be­yond their lim­its, and very of­ten with­out any fund­ing to sup­port these ac­tions.

For a change, the EU needs to show a com­mon pol­icy and se­cure po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity in all of the Mid­dle Eastern and north­ern African con­flict ar­eas as too much time was wasted on the Iran nu­clear deal, the ear­lier con­clu­sion of which could have helped con­tain or even pre­vent some of to­day’s con­flicts that have blown up be­yond con­trol.

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