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How can the EU solve the migration crisis? Pt. I of II

April 27, 2015

The global community is shocked after the latest refugee drama in the Mediterranean: an estimated 900 people drowned after a migrant boat capsized off the coast of Libya. In the midst of grief and outrage, the EU struggles with the accusation of not having done enough to stop the dying at its borders.

Allianz Open Knowledge spoke with German migrant researcher Klaus Bade, who demands a long-overdue global summit on migration.


Open Knowledge: Two years after Lampedusa, the Mediterranean remains a watery graveyard. Why does the EU, a holder of the Nobel Peace Prize, have problems rescuing these migrants?

Because everyone can agree on their outrage, issue appeals for help, and pass resolutions, but no one can agree on how they can work together to offer concrete support. The first step would be to get rid of 'Triton' [the EU’s effort to support the Italian migrant rescue operation, Mare Nostrum] and replace it – but not with an Italian project with a small amount of EU funding, but rather as a joint project for the EU community. And instead of waging war on refugees, they should focus on fighting human traffickers with the same tactics as used against pirates in Somalia. The European secret services have a fairly good idea of how these Mafia-style trafficking operations work.

The migration researcher, publicist and political consultant Prof. Dr. Klaus J. Bade was a founding member of the Sachverständigenrates deutscher Stiftungen für Integration und Migration (panel of experts examining integration and migration) until 2012.
The migration researcher, publicist and political consultant Prof. Dr. Klaus J. Bade was a founding member of the Sachverständigenrates deutscher Stiftungen für Integration und Migration (panel of experts examining integration and migration) until 2012. 

His book "Kritik und Gewalt. Sarrazin-Debatte, ‚Islamkritik‘ und Terror in der Einwanderungsgesellschaft" ("Criticism and Violence. Sarrazin Debate, 'Criticism of Islam' and Terrorism in an Immigrant Society") was published in 2013.

The scale of devastation in their home countries is demonstrated by the fact that, despite all these catastrophes, people are still willing to take to the water in flimsy wooden boats. How many refugees does Europe have to prepare for?

It was a political error to think refugees would only be attracted to Europe. This is why the deterrent-based policies this led to can be seen as inhumane errors in reasoning. We need a European Marshall Plan for the crisis zones in Africa to prevent people from having to leave. Otherwise, Europe will be flooded with even more refugees, and will have to deal with the problems that come with this. But it's not just about Africa: since the 1990s, there has been a whole range of global summits, on anything from women's rights to climate change. When will it be time to hold a long-overdue summit on migration?


Can Europe even take any more refugees?

Absolutely. Europe is a demographically aging and shrinking continent that is reliant on constant immigration. However, European countries must have the right to select their immigrants as far as legal immigration is concerned. Of the 45 million refugees worldwide, almost 90 percent remain in their country of origin; most, in fact, as internally displaced refugees within the borders of their own country. Five percent at most head for Europe. 


The countries on the periphery of the European fortress complain of a lack of support from Brussels. What form does European migration policy need to take in the future?

The Dublin System, which determines that the EU member state responsible for the asylum procedure is the state through which the asylum seeker first enters the EU, is effectively dead. The end result of "Fortress Europe" has been to make migrants illegal and to engender a job creation scheme for human trafficking networks that act like shady travel agencies. 

In Europe, Germany is preventing attempts to change the Dublin System. This is absurd because the comfortable situation enjoyed by Germany in the middle of Europe with its comparatively low number of asylum seekers is a thing of the past, as shown by the number of applications for asylum this year, which may exceed the 300,000 mark. The only hope of change is if Europe can agree to not just share the burden, but share refugees as well. For this we need a key for contingents or quotas and a European migration agency to take over implementation in agreement with the member states. 

In the second part of this interview, we'll explore options for integration, as well as the root causes of the crisis.
Michael Grimm

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