“Refugees welcome” an opinion by Xabier Macias on the refugee and migration crisis

News / 16.12.15

In summer 2015 Europe experienced the largest flows of refugees since the Second World War. The stories of pain, suffering, and hope of the people who have fled Syria and other countries because of conflict have deeply touched the peoples of Europe.

Regrettably, the institutional response of the European Union (EU) has been and continues to be shameful, both as regards the war in Syria and the causes of this and other conflicts in the Mediterranean, and as regards the treatment of the families seeking asylum and the negotiations on admission quotas.

Europe was badly prepared for such a crisis: public expenditure on border controls in the last five years has been much higher than that for providing for refugees or for humanitarian aid and rescue missions at sea. The uncoordinated response by the Member States of the EU and a clear lack of willingness to take decisions on quotas and hosting have once again worn away at citizens’ confidence in Community institutions, bringing into question the validity of the values of the Union and endangering the lives of displaced people.

Refugee crises are nothing new and will always occur, and this European Union is not fit to tackle them with humanity and respect for basic rights. It is the responsibility of us, the peoples to change this.

Refugees welcome

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Opinion piece by Xabier Macias, President of the Centre Maurits Coppieters and Ignasi Centelles, Coordinator of the Centre Maurits Coppieters published at Ideas for Europe Newsletter #3 (Winter 2015)