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    Migrant crisis: refugee crisis may last, but Europe can cope

    ©Belga
    ©Belga

    The “unprecedented” refugee crisis may well last, but Europe has the necessary “ability and experience” to cope, says the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) in a report published on Tuesday. “The current humanitarian crisis is unprecedented and has terrible and intolerable human consequences,” highlights the think tank in a document attached to its report called “2015 International Migration Outlook”.

    The organisation of 34 developed countries believes the number of refugees has reached heights “unheard of in modern history,” and a million asylum applications may be recorded throughout Europe in 2015, with “350,000 to 450,000” people probably given a special protected status.

    “Many different journeys, countries of origin, and motivations” make this crisis “particularly difficult to deal with,” says the OECD, citing for example the fact that last year Syrians represented 21% of asylum seekers, Kosovars 9.6%, and Eritreans 6.4%.

    Conflict in Syria, uncertainty in Libya, turmoil in Afghanistan and Iraq… “The prospects for significant stability in the main countries of origin are slim,” warns the think tank. It adds: “economic and demographic factors in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to encourage emigration, as do the high level of poverty and unemployment in Western Balkan countries.”

    This explains why “we are dealing with more than a passing emergency situation, and instead with a structural problem, with heavy migration to be expected in coming years, bringing with it fears about immigration in many countries,” adds the report.

    The OECD feels longer term solutions are warranted instead of ‘fire-fighting’ operations and the sharing out of newcomers amongst European countries. Europe needs to “focus on emergency measures to welcome refugees and speed up asylum procedures.”

    At a time when Europeans are struggling to find common ground in response to the crisis, the report insists that “dealing with some of the root causes of the crisis, and reaching a concerted and comprehensive political decision, are urgent issues.”

    But “our key finding is that Europe has both the means and the experience to deal with this situation,” states Jean-Christophe Dumont, in charge of international migrations at the OECD. He highlights the number of refugees is “manageable” when compared to the total European population, and in light of the legislative and judicial arsenal set up by the EU in the past few decades.

    Lars Andersen (Source: Belga)