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