How can entrepreneurship tackle the migration crisis in the EU?

avramopoulos-eu-philipo-grandi-unhcr

Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the EC in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, visited Berlin in the context of a meeting with global migration stakeholders to discuss common challenges on refugee crisis. © European Union , 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Adam Berry

Exclusively written for the Sting by Mr João Malhadeiro, a young entrepreneur affiliated to the European Confederation of Junior Entreprises (JADE). The opinions expressed within reflect only the writer’s views and not The European Sting’s position on the issue.

1,011,700. When you think of this number what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Iceland’s population? No, that is 331,000. Luxembourg’s population? Neither, that is 570,000. It’s nor the population of Stockholm or Amsterdam. Instead, that very first number represents the number of migrants who arrived by sea to Europe in 2015 . [1]

It all began between 2014 and 2015, when the war in Syria started and Europe was not ready for the migration flow that erupted. Again, when we take a closer look at the numbers we are shocked: “The number of refugees crossing the sea from Turkey to Greece increased 20 times from 2014 to 2015”; “Asylum seeker numbers double to 1.2m in 2015”; “More than 3,770 migrants were reported to have died trying to cross the Mediterranean in 2015” [2].

Those could all have been the headlines of any newspaper across Europe for the past year. Now you’re thinking: the European Union must have done something, right? I mean, why is it called the migration crisis or the migration problem? The answer is quite simple: politics. The EU refugee relocation scheme was inadequate and it was based more on words and good will, rather than concrete and real solutions for the “problem”.

However, there is always one word that is naturally connected with solving problems. Can you guess what it is? If you guessed entrepreneurship, you were absolutely right! Entrepreneurs all over the world have tried to solve the migration problem in the EU, with some very good ideas coming to the surface.

Startup Boat: Migration” is one of those. This group of entrepreneurs launched a platform where refugees can reach all the information that is vital when they arrive in Europe: how to get residency cards; where they can access food, shelter, medical aid and transport. In addition, it’s also a platform to connect with other refugees for support or help. [3]

All in all, we have seen just an example of what European entrepreneurs can do for the refugees, but what about the opposite? Let’s take Syria for a change, the country where most refugees come from. Because of the war the nation is suffering from a “lost generation” of students, where 450,000 is the number of refugees at university age. So there can’t be a better opportunity to integrate these students so they can contribute to the European growth and development. [4]

Entrepreneurs innately look at a problem as an opportunity.  They do that with imagination, creativity and innovation, approaching obstacles in a completely different way. Nowadays, migration is still called a crisis in Europe and the EU doesn’t have a concrete answer to this problem. However, using creativity, out of the box thinking and innovation, is just what makes entrepreneurship one of the solutions to address this plaguing issue in the Old Continent.

References

[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34131911

[2] http://bruegel.org/2016/02/eu-migration-crisis-facts-figures-and-disappointments/

[3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/amyguttman/2015/09/25/startup-boat-how-entrepreneurs-are-solving-europes-refugee-crisis/#5ce897ce38d7

[4] http://wenr.wes.org/2016/04/education-in-syria

About the author

joao-malhadeiro

 

João Malhadeiro is a member of LisbonPH, the Junior Enterprise of Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon (FFULisboa), where he works in the Innovation and Scientific Department. In addition to this role, he is also the coordinator of Pharmacevtica, the magazine of the Students’ Association of FFULisboa and writes chronicles about politics, economy, sports for the P3’s website by the newspaper “Público”. João is graduating from the FFULisboa with a Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences. In the lab, he mixes the world, politics, health, economy, science and writing in test tubes.

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