05 September 2015

The refugee crisis in Europe

We're seeing the biggest influx of refugees and economic migrants into Europe for many a year; there's not been this many displaced people turning up since the war.

They are fleeing intolerable conditions in their own countries; be it the ravages of Assad or Islamic State (to reference a comment about the Iran-Iraq war, it's a pity they can't both lose), poverty in Kosovo or general repression in Eritrea.

We need to be dealing with both the crisis and the cause of the crisis. The EU needs to get together and agree a equitable distribution of asylum seekers; it is not fair to expect one or two countries to expect to bear the vast majority of the associated costs.

Also, we need to tackle the people smugglers; they are simply trading on human misery with little care for their charges. We have the capacity to take people from the refugee camps in Lebanon and Turkey in a safer manner.

Finally, we need to defeat Islamic State (I don't think you can talk to these people even if you want to), as well as facilitating wider peace deals in Syria and Libya. Then continue to act to end the unequal world economy that causes much of this migration in the first place.

In the meantime, sadly, more people seeking a better life - or children who haven't got a huge clue what is going on - are likely to die crossing the Mediterranean. They are in my prayers.

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