Will the EU ever tackle the migration crisis despite the lack of political will?

Joint press conference by Dimitris Avramopoulos and Julian King, Members of the EC, on the 12th relocation and resettlement progress report and on the 7th Security Union progress report
Date: 16/05/2017. Location: Strasbourg – EP. © European Union. Source: EC – Audiovisual Service. Photo: Elyxandro Cegarra

Despite the fact that migration crisis figures have decreased compared to last year, the disappointing commitment of some countries to fulfil their obligations receiving asylum-seekers from Greece and Italy combined with the worsening situation in the Mediterranean are perpetuating this crisis.

The European Commission (EC) continues its hard work towards the completion of the relocation and resettlement schemes of 98.255 people from Greece and Italy to the rest EU countries but so far it falls short as only 18.418 people have relocated as of May 11. The goal of the EU is to reach the threshold of 98.255 people by September 2017 ; something that seems impossible to happen.

Furthermore, the rise of migrants reaching Italy by boat from Africa is causing serious concerns to the EU. Thus, the EC plans to conduct patrols in Libya in order to prevent refugees from coming to the EU through the Mediterranean route.

EU countries fail to address relocation plan

According to the EC, Hungary, Poland and Austria remain the only countries not to have relocated a single refugee while the Czech Republic has stopped relocating people for about a year. Moreover, many member states such as Spain, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, France and Cyprus should increase their monthly relocation pledges in order to contribute in a more effective way.

More specifically, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said last week in Strasbourg: “The success of the relocation scheme cannot depend only on just a few. Solidarity in legal, political and moral terms is not susceptible to different interpretations. I call on those Member States who have systematically failed to deliver on their obligations to start doing so at once. The overall figures on resettlement show what strengthened EU-level cooperation and coordination can do in practice, and it is high time we achieved the same for relocation.”

It seems that there is lack of political will to make this plan successful and to be able to provide better conditions to the refugees who are in desperate need. The EC and EP has called the EU member states to start following its recommendations immediately speeding up relocation efforts before June when the next EC’s report on the EU’s emergency relocation and resettlement schemes will be published. Otherwise there will be serious consequences for the countries that fail to do so according to the EC.

Migrants’ deaths continue in the Mediterranean

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported last week that 1.332 people have died on the Mediterranean route so far in 2017, figures that remain high and close to the 1.382 fatalities over the same period last year despite the fact that the number of arrivals by sea in the EU has decreased to a great extent.

The response of the EC is to strengthen Libya’s border management which is now the main way of African migrants reaching Europe. More in detail, Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, stated that using European border agents to conduct patrols in Libya in order to stop refugees is “only a good idea”.

Border management is a temporary solution

The idea to tighten the EU border control in the North African country is not going to prevent migrants from coming to the EU by the Mediterranean route. This would be only a provisional measure as it does not target the root causes of the migration crisis. The refugees will most likely find another solution to reach the EU shores because the situation in their home countries is not viable. Therefore, border patrols are not going to be a major obstacle for their migration plans as the Old Continent is their only solution.

It is imperative that the EC further tightens its stance to the EU member states which are not following the recommendations on the relocation and resettlement schemes in order to address this long-lasting issue.

All in all, the EU leaders must show that they indeed care about these people by imposing their political will to tackle the migration crisis. A more enduring solution is needed which will ensure better living conditions at the countries of origins of the refugees; a solution that would urge them remain at their home countries.

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Comments

  1. john johnson says:

    horrible attitude those countries have not wanting suicide bombers

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