Europe cannot hide the tragedy of thousands of human beings or continue to employ reproachful and ineffective means which only lead to temporary solutions. The methods have serious consequences for those who see migration as the only way out of their problems. Between 2015 and 2017 more than 8,500 migrants died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
Two years after the onset of the worst immigration crisis since World War II, the European Union (EU) boasts about its declining flow of refugees, whilst trying to disguise the failure of its plans and hide the negative implications.
While illegal arrivals from citizens of Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Iraq and Afghanistan, among others, are decreasing, some of the methods used for this purpose are questionable and others ineffective or incomplete. As deaths, violence and discrimination in the Mediterranean continue, Brussels is determined to prove its alleged capacity to respond and draws an encouraging picture to hide the fact that it chose to bandage the wound without first curing it.
After many failed initiatives and an increasing number of discrepancies, the bloc is still unable to find an adequate solution to a phenomenon. Violence and the serious humanitarian situation in countries of the Middle East and Africa, are among some of its main causes, generated to a large extent by the destabilizing actions of the great Western powers.
Following an ill-fated plan to establish compulsory reception quotas and relocate some 160,000 migrants, at the end of September the European Commission (EC) presented a new program for the resettlement of at least 50,000 refugees.
According to a statement from the institution, the project will be implemented until October 2019 and consists of bringing vulnerable people and those in need of international protection to Europe.
In September, the deadline for the distribution of thousands of asylum seekers who arrived in Italy and Greece from 2015 expired with no real results. It was rejected by countries like Hungary and Slovakia, who preferred to build fences, to repress these people or to let them pass freely to other EU nations.
According to recent reports, two years after measures were announced, only 29,000 foreigners were relocated.
Given the inefficiency of the redistribution by quotas, the EC now proposes to accept the asylum seekers after negotiating with the countries of origin and offering the states that receive them around 10 thousand euros for each one.
For this purpose it has a budget of 500 million euros and advocates focusing efforts on transit routes beginning in Libya, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia.
The EU executive is also committed to pilot legal migration projects, reinforcing the return policy and reforming the European asylum system.
In addition, it recommends that the 28 EU countries create systems that allow private groups or civil society organizations to coordinate and fund the relocation of individuals.
It also defends the granting of the blue card, to attract highly skilled workers, and will ensure that Member States have the labour they need.
On the other hand, the EU executive takes into account unsatisfactory rates of return (around 36% per year) and points out that 1.5 million individuals should be repatriated in the near future, so it supports the increase of actions in this regard.
Despite countless criticisms from international and humanitarian agencies, the EC considers the management of the migration crisis positive for 2015 to 2017, during which more than 8,500 migrants died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
Recently, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported a significant decline in the number of foreigners who arrived in Europe this year, but warned of the continuation of deaths and violence suffered by those people.
According to this entity, during the first half of 2017 the number of individuals crossing the Mediterranean declined considerably, but more than two thousand 250 deaths or disappearances were registered.
The exact number of deaths are uncertain because of the existing crisis and travel conditions, so the figures quoted are approximate and conservative, according to the statement from the UNHCR.
In March 2016, the 28 EU countries reached an agreement with Turkey to contain the influx of refugees in exchange for three million euros and other guarantees for Ankara, an agreement which, according to experts and non-governmental organizations, violates international law, human rights and EU regulations.
Since the implementation of the controversial pact, which provides for the immediate and arbitrary return of all irregular travellers to the Greek islands, migrants must take longer and more dangerous routes.
Moreover, in the absence of effective mechanisms for the transfer or grant of asylum, thousands of them remain in facilities with precarious conditions, without the necessary medical care, food, security or legal representation.
From April 2016 to May 2017, more than 800 people were brought to Turkey and, according to the EU, 400 were then deported to their home nations, from which they had fled in search of a better future.
At the end of August, UNHCR denounced the violence and difficulties suffered by those who chose the route between those two States or others at greater risk, largely due to the lack of legal transit routes and greater attention by the authorities of the bloc community.
“Encouraging actions to reduce the number of refugees and immigrants, without simultaneous efforts for peace, development and in favour of safe routes, is unacceptable. We cannot ignore the abuses simply because we do not see them”, said Filippo Grandi, representative of the entity.
“The EU must be more supportive and ensure protection and assistance to those who come to this continent. It is important to accelerate the processes of relocation of migrants, family reunification and the implementation of humanitarian measures”, he said. (PL)
(Translated by Shanika Whight – email@example.com) – Photos Pixabay