dis­placed peo­ple world­wide. Half were chil­dren. in­ter­nally dis­placed within their own coun­try mies of the tar­get coun­tries, and the way in which they are viewed by sup­pli­cants.

Bri­tain is re­garded as a place where work can be found, but is less at­trac-


asy­lum seek­ers peo­ple leav­ing their homes ev­ery day tive than other EU coun­tries be­cause it is out­side of the Schen­gen Area and re­tains border con­trols. It is also more dif­fi­cult to reach.

Most of the sta­tis­tics quoted here will rise for 2015 and again next year. When the weather im­proves next spring we can ex­pect an­other wave of peo­ple try­ing to cross the Mediter­ranean. This un­prece­dented move­ment is chang­ing not just the de­mog­ra­phy of Europe but will likely im­pact in many ways, in­clud­ing po­lit­i­cal.

Euro­pean unity has al­ready taken some ham­mer blows this year. The at­tacks in Paris may have brought calls of sup­port and sol­i­dar­ity, but they also caused the Pol­ish Prime Min­is­ter des­ig­nate to an­nounce that Poland will refuse to have a refugee quota im­posed on it.

It is likely that if Prime Min­ster Cameron calls the EU ref­er­en­dum for June, it will be be­cause he knows that by July the refugee mi­grant story will be back on our front pages.

Find­ing pos­i­tives in the var­i­ous sta­tis­tics from the UN and other bod­ies is dif­fi­cult. How­ever, amid the gloom there is some light.

For ex­am­ple, the in­ter­ven­tion in Mali by the French mil­i­tary helped calm the sit­u­a­tion and last year 155,000 peo­ple went home. How last week’s ter­ror­ist out­rage will af­fect

TheParisat­tack­sraised­fearsa­mon­grefugeesthatEuropewil­l­clo­seits­doors the sit­u­a­tion it is too early to say.

Clearly, many peo­ple gen­uinely flee­ing war, or “owing to a well-founded fear of be­ing per­se­cuted for rea­sons of race, re­li­gion, na­tion­al­ity” and other UN cri­te­ria are seek­ing asy­lum, will want to re­turn to their homes one day. That of course re­quires sta­bil­ity and is one of many rea­sons why fi­nally there is a gen­uine diplo­matic push to get a set­tle­ment in Syria.

The south will con­tinue to move north for eco­nomic rea­sons, but the flow will be stemmed if there is sta­bil­ity back home, and would be­come a trickle if there was global pros­per­ity. Tim Mar­shall is a for­eign af­fairs an­a­lyst. His lat­est book, ‘Pris­on­ers of Geography’, is pub­lished by Scrib­ner


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