According to IOM and UNHCR, the total number of migrants who crossed the EU’s external borders in 2015 rose to more than a million. The total number of recorded migrant deaths in the Mediterranean in 2015 is 3,770 according to IOM research data. It is reasonable to assume that the total number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean is higher, as some people die at sea and disappear into the ocean.
The problem in the EU is the unequitable distribution of asylum seekers and lack of solidarity among EU member states (1 million migrants is equal to 0.2% of the entire EU population). Some EU member states grapple with the question of how an influx of people of a “different culture” might change their country. Some say that we should seek 'regional solutions' for refugee problems. This may sound sensible but this argument is deceptive as it ignores the fact that the large majority of refugees worldwide already find refuge in their own region. Developing countries host over 86 % of the world's refugees, compared to 70 % ten years ago. This is not only because many refugees lack the resources to travel far, but also because many refugees simply prefer to stay close to home. The vast majority of refugees stay in neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Jordan, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Lebanon, which houses 1.2 million Syrian refugees within a total population of roughly 4.5 million.
There is an acute shortage of international funds to help refugees in the region, which is hampering humanitarian assistance efforts to meet the needs of refugees as well as in communities hosting hem in neighbouring countries. The deteriorating situation in neighbouring countries is one of the direct causes of the rapidly increasing numbers of people moving to Europe. This is also one of the reasons why the EU has promised Turkey 3 billion euro to stem this flow. For Turkey this could lead to visa liberalization for Turkish citizens travelling to Europe and eventually to Turkey’s accession to the EU. In the European Union, after initial opposite stances between EU member states, a convergence of views began towards the end of 2015 with the goal of keeping refugees away from Europe. The latest proposal came from the European Commission on 15 december 2015 for a European Border and Coast Guard to protect Europe’s external borders.
Can you keep up with all the developments taking place on the subject of the migration crisis or are you flooded with information? Are you wondering what’s going on? The public perception, not helped by politicians, could be far from the truth. A report on media and the global migration and refugee crisis says journalists often fail to tell the full story and routinely fall into propaganda traps laid by politicians. In order to contribute to a more nuanced debate people wishing to learn about the migrant/refugee crisis can take a look at a number of useful links and recent online, open access publications on migration and refugees from international think tanks and research institutes the Peace Palace Library has collected in relation to this subject. Recent online, open access publications, read more, here.[number of readers: 504]