A few years ago, Europe faced a phenomenon that was called the European migration crisis, also known as the refugee crisis. In particular, over 1 million asylum seekers traveled to Europe in 2014 and 2015 alone (Beirens 2). However, it turned out that European legislation was not ready for an influx of so many individuals. Shortly after the first wave of mass migration began, it became evident that the Common European Asylum System [CEAS] failed to provide a prompt and efficient response to a massive number of potential refugees arriving (Beirens 2).
Moreover, different countries reacted differently to the inflows of asylum seekers. At that time, some countries agreed to accept a massive number of migrants, and others opposed the influx of tens of thousands of people with different culture and values. Consequently, the reluctance of individual EU member states led to frustration and sharp discussions within this political entity (Beirens 4). Thus, the essence of the problem is that Europe could not adequately respond to the refugee crisis.
Current Treatment among EU Members
In contrast to the onset of the crisis, when many states sincerely believed that all migrants who arrived in Europe were asylum seekers, the situation has now changed. In the press and even at the highest level of the EU leadership and individual member states there have been repeated allegations that a vast number of economic migrants from Africa and the Middle East are arriving in Europe who pretend to be refugees. Today, discrimination based upon country of origin exists in the EU. As of 2018, 25 of the 28 EU Member States apply an optional provision under Art. 8(I), which requires national authorities to check whether asylum seeker applicants are able to seek refuge in safe zones within their country of origin (Beirens 19). The only exceptions to that rule are Italy, Spain, and Sweden.
Best Practices among the Members
Trying to find a way out of the crisis, the EU member states have tried many different programs and practices. Particularly, Belgium, Germany, and Sweden had successful distribution approach according to which the authorities could spread the asylum seekers across the country depending on the accessibility of employment for adults and education for children (Beirens 11). Furthermore, the above three countries, as well as the Netherlands, managed to predict the future reception capacity needs using the real-time data provided by national statistical institutions and international organizations such as the UNHCR and IOM (Bierens 11).
Another efficacious approach was sharing reception facilities. One example of such policy was an agreement on concluded between Austria and Slovakia. According to the contract, the latter pledged to host 500 asylum seekers in order to help the Vienna reception center avoid overcrowding (Bierens 12). Such agreements proved effective as they allowed the governments to save additional funds and time that would otherwise have been directed to the creation of new reception centers.
Recommendations for Improvement
European countries must agree on the lists of “dangerous” and “safe” states. Immigrants from regions where the war is going on will receive asylum under the simplified procedure, while illegal immigrants from “safe” countries will have to prove that they are in danger of being persecuted or at home. Otherwise, they will be counted among the economic migrants, with a clear prospect of being immediately sent home. For instance, the European Commission suggested another recommendation in 2016, which would make it compulsory for all the member states of the EU to utilize Art. 8(I) and help unify the legislation of individual European countries (Beirens 19).
In addition, it is essential to create refugee reception centers at all the problematic borders of the EU, which will deal with their registration, fingerprinting, entering the data into the Schengen police and immigration databases, and distributing and asylum requests. Besides, The European Union should begin an ongoing fight against criminal structures that are engaged in illegal traffic of migrants.
Lessons for Present US Practices
The situation in which Europe finds itself remains relevant for the United States of America. First, we must remember that the US played a crucial role in the development of conflicts in Libya and Syria, which eventually became one of the leading causes of the European crisis (Meierotto and Fragkias). Secondly, the administration of President Trump took actions similar to those taken in Eastern and Southern Europe. For example, the US has tightened the laws governing the adoption of asylum seekers to the territory of the state. Such solutions may have a short-term effect, but they do not solve the global problem in the long term (Meierotto and Fragkias). In addition, it is impossible not to mention that the migration crisis will undoubtedly lead to an increase in the popularity of nationalist parties and right-wing populists, which can undermine democratic processes in both Europe and the United States.
Beirens, Hanne. Cracked Foundation, Uncertain Future. Migration Policy Institute, 2018.
Meierotto, Lisa, and Michail Fragkias. “The Refugee Crisis in Greece: Lessons for the United States.” Boise State University, www.boisestate.edu/sps-frankchurchinstitute/publications/essays/essays-meierotto-fragkias/. Accessed July 22, 2019.