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samurai_sarah

The European Refugee Crisis - MERGED

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samurai_sarah

This has been going on for a while. For those of you not in the know, the Mediterranean is a favoured route for refugees from the Levant and Africa to come to the EU. The most favoured points for landing are Italy and Greece.

 

As per the Dublin Regulation (http://www.ecre.org/topics/areas-of-wor ... ation.html ), refugees have to claim asylum in the EU country where they landed. That means that certain countries deal with the majority of the humanitarian crisis. They have to rescue, feed, clothe and process.

 

With the Syria crisis and the advent of ISIS, people started pouring in. But Italy had defunded its naval rescue mission "Mare Nostrum". Traffickers' practices and the lack of funds led to the death of 800 people in earlier this year (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/a ... a-massacre). The EU responded by sending their navies to provide help after that human disaster.

 

While Italy and Greece are trying to deal with the new arrivals, Hungary has started erecting a fence to keep migrants out. Sweden and Germany take the most per-capita refugees per year (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-33972632). I don't know much about Sweden, but the news from Germany isn't good. We seem to have started fire-bombing proposed refugee-accommodation again, and it happens weekly. (If you know German: http://www.spiegel.de/thema/fluechtlinge/)

 

France and the UK are experiencing their own troubles: (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... rders.html - sorry, I know, it's the daily fail).

 

And that's just scratching the surface. I'm sure I've left out loads, sorry.

 

Thoughts? Opinions?

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HighlandCow

Thank you for calling it a refugee crisis. I really dislike the "migrant" angle.

The UK has a problem but it isn't refugees: 12% of the population voted UKIP in the last election, almost 4 million people. They were considered a fringe party but they are less fringe than the LibDems at this point. ( for those who don't know, UKIP is a far far right fringe party)

What that means is that public opinion in the UK is very much AGAINST helping these refugees. Hence the "migrant crisis". There is no way the conservatives will prioritize displaced people over their own tight-fisted domestic immigration policies. They WILL send resources to Calais/Mediterranean countries to keep the refugees AWAY from Britain.

The problem that Britian has is not a refugee crisis, but a crisis of basic human compassion.

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Cleopatra7

I'm not sure what can be done, tbh. I understand that all countries have limited resources, and that a particular nation's citizens should come first in getting these resources. On the other hand, these refugees are escaping from war, sex slavery, mass rapes, theocracy, ethnic strife, etc. No logical person would stay put when they are faced with such horrific violence. A gigantic wall could be put between Africa and Europe (or the US and Mexico for that matter), and refugees would still pour in, because of what they're fleeing from. If nothing else, this illustrates that the international system as it is, with a handful of relatively stable countries and dozens of failed/dysfunctional states, is untenable.

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nausicaa

The EU has military powers? How does that work?

Also, this YouTube news channel (I believe it's German, but it's broadcast in English) has done a really good job of covering this story in several different countries, IMO.

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Aurora rising

I am from Germany and it´s a big issue here. After the "PEGIDA"-movement which started last year rassism is kind of "okay" again - sadly. These morons have statements like "I´m not a Nazi, but.....". They don´t realize that the refugees are not the ruin of Germany or the EU, this has started way before. Germany is one of the biggest weapon exporteurs so we are responsible for the refugees as well (not to mention that every human being should have a safe place to stay).

BUT there are lots of private initiatives as well, people all over the country who welcome refugees, you offer them clothes, food, their time and homes. On Saturday there is unfortunately a demo planned against refugees. But there is also a demo against this demo and I´m sure we will be 10x more people, at least.

But it is scary and I feel really sorry for the refugees, especially the ones in east Germany. The government does way to less to protect them and make them feel welcome.

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DeFrauder

This refugee crisis is the direct consequence of arming the Syrian rebels and facilitating the civil war there. The Invasion of Iraq did nothing to help either.

Remember when Bush and his pals claimed it was going to be a cake walk?

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samurai_sarah
The EU has military powers? How does that work?

Also, this YouTube news channel (I believe it's German, but it's broadcast in English) has done a really good job of covering this story in several different countries, IMO.

Ah, sorry didn't make that clear enough. The EU doesn't have military powers. EU countries sent their own national navies to rescue refugees from sea-unworthy vessels. They're patrolling the Med in a humanitarian mission, not to keep anyone out.

@Cleopatra-

I'm not sure what can or should be done either. No simple solutions. But as HighlandCow and Aurora_rising have pointed out the debate around the entire issue is one that is ugly. Fact is that as long as there's war, famine etc going on, and the EU countries remain safe and stable, someone will always come. Trouble is that currently the EU is fairly unsettled already and is dividing further over squabbling over which country has to take which number of refugees.

Keeping an asylum seeker out is not an option. The issue right now is the sheer numbers, and the political climate. Most people that come are Syrian refugees. They come into countries deeply suspicious of Muslims, where you hear things like "well, we don't know how many disguised terrorists are among the refugees - keep them out". Uh, yes, because a terrorist network can't afford to either recruit locally or fly someone in. No, obviously they'd choose the most life-threatening methods of travel for their agents...

I just get annoyed when I hear stuff like that. At the end of the day, a terrorist organisation is just that, an organisation. If they want a suicide bomber to do their job, they don't send them on a months' long journey with limited chances of reaching the actual target! Besides, as far as I'm aware, most of our European terrorists were "home-grown".

The solution that springs to mind is to bomb the shit out of ISIS, arm all those fighting against them, and then we probably end up with the same shit on a different day again. Invasion? Yeah, no, that one's been going over not so well in the Middle East either.

Let the Middle East sort itself out? Sure, it's an option, but at what cost to humans? No easy solutions, but in the meantime, European countries have to come up with something to help the refugees. Something that does not include barbed wire or tear-gas (I'm looking at you, Hungary and Macedonia).

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laPapessaGiovanna

Here in Italy there's also another problem. Many criminal organisations (linked to important politicians from every side) earn a lot on the skin of these poor people. Since the State pays good money every day to centres that host them until they are identified (often the identification process lasts for many months because people not wanting to stay in Italy don't help giving their data) criminal organisations take control of the these centres and take the money without giving the required services to the migrants. See the recent scandal called "Roma mafia capitale" if you want more info. This said you can understand if the taxpayers don't like to fund this sort of help. Add to this the generally bad organisation of help to those who already have been recognised as refugees that would like to go to northern Europe because they have family there or because there are better economic conditions there. People are quite pissed at the moment, some maybe for narrow minded and utterly idiotic racist reasons others for actual problems with the national and international management of this emergency.

However in the sea between Lybia and Sicily died 2000 people since the beginning of the year. Most of them come from subsaharian Africa and from countries such as Eritrea and Somalia. It's not a problem born in Syria only. We are reaping what we sowed in the last century of wars and exploitation.

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nausicaa
The EU has military powers? How does that work?

Also, this YouTube news channel (I believe it's German, but it's broadcast in English) has done a really good job of covering this story in several different countries, IMO.

Maybe it would have helped if I actually put the link to the news channel in my post. :embarrassed:

https://www.youtube.com/user/deutschewelleenglish

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Arete

Greece is so fucked up right now no one can agree on which way north is. The coast guard has been rescuing 100z of people at sea every day. Only God can help them when they make landfall. Our good for nothing, no account government has not managed to open a single homeless shelter in 5 years if the economy going to Hell, they don't support a single soup kitchen, and they don't give those islands where people are landing so much as a Euro or a hand. The islanders have been trying to come up with ad hoc solutions, but they are pretty poor and have had 200000 people land the last 6 weeks. No, that number is not a typo. Now we have our very own group of home grown Neo Nazis in the capital calling this a "Muslim Invasion". The match up of incompetence and

Bad will is staggering. Hungry Greeks get nothing, starving refugees get nothing and old ladies are trying to run soup kitchens out of their homes.

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DeFrauder

A good number of Syrians are Christians. Quite a few Palestinians are Christians, as well. Some of the refugees are Alawite Muslims (the same sect as Assad), and are despised by the Sunni Muslim rebels and ISIS.

So when Europeans complain about these refugees being Muslim and that they are part of a Muslim invasion---they are being stupid. They come from various different religions.

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jaelh

Offshore processing. If there were camps in Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia (I know two aren't European, but this is worldwide problem, not just a ME/Europe issue). etc. from where safe states accepted people - even if it was on a temporary protection visa (i.e.: until it was regarded as safe to return to a country of origin). Anyone that doesn't go through processing gets returned to camps and not accepted in a 3rd country under any circumstances.

Basically, a hybrid of Vietnamese/baltic states processing worked.

Without alternatives, people will keep coming. The only way to "stop" it, is regulate the flow of people.

I think the issue is political will. Also a significant head of resentment built up from countries that have signed the refugee convention vis a vie other countries that haven't. We need more states on board.

The present system strikes me as cutting of your nose to spite your face. We now have technology that enables people to move when there is conflict. That people will move is now inevitable. And the numbers are nothing like WWII, on which the present model is built.

IMO the current refugee model doesn't work (the protection categories are too limited; does not work in conjunction with a managed migration program because it effectively operates as a bypass system; those that do wait end up spending years in camps etc...) If we want to be able to maintain a right of states to managed migration, then we need to build in ways to deal with the mass movement of people.

What aretejo said about bad will is pertinent. its poison, to all of us.

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jaelh

Defrauder: the vast majority of the present movement out of the Middle East are Muslim. It's not being "stupid" to say these asylum seekers are Muslim, it's just un-nuanced, and there is a world of difference between these stupid and un-nuanced.

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DeFrauder
Defrauder: the vast majority of the present movement out of the Middle East are Muslim. It's not being "stupid" to say these asylum seekers are Muslim, it's just un-nuanced, and there is a world of difference between these stupid and un-nuanced.

I didn't mean it was stupid to refer to the refugees as Muslims (although like I said there are Christians, others, and various types of Muslims among the refugees). I meant that it was stupid to COMPLAIN that they are Muslims. The backlash against the refugees based on religion is plain bigotry.

This crisis (and crisis is an understatement) would never have occurred if Western nations had not been busy "toppling" Mideast gov'ts over the last 15 years. Now no one wants to take responsibility for the tragic fallout from the civil wars.

The situation in Syria is not going to get better. Even if Assad was removed tomorrow, the country has been destroyed and will take decades to recover---and that isn't even taking ISIS into account. The whole region is just going to get shittier and shittier as long as ISIS continues there.

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DeFrauder
Greece is so fucked up right now no one can agree on which way north is. The coast guard has been rescuing 100z of people at sea every day. Only God can help them when they make landfall. Our good for nothing, no account government has not managed to open a single homeless shelter in 5 years if the economy going to Hell, they don't support a single soup kitchen, and they don't give those islands where people are landing so much as a Euro or a hand. The islanders have been trying to come up with ad hoc solutions, but they are pretty poor and have had 200000 people land the last 6 weeks. No, that number is not a typo. Now we have our very own group of home grown Neo Nazis in the capital calling this a "Muslim Invasion". The match up of incompetence and

Bad will is staggering. Hungry Greeks get nothing, starving refugees get nothing and old ladies are trying to run soup kitchens out of their homes.

I am glad that old ladies are running soup kitchens out of their homes. It is kind of them.

I read something about how Greece is responsible financially for any refugees that land in their country and other EU countries are not helping them. Am I right to assume that this is part of the reason why Greece is having its economic problems?

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DeFrauder

reuters.com/article/2015/08/27/us-europe-grants-eu-austria-idUSKCN0QW19H20150827

Here is an example of the horrors manifesting from the refugee crisis.

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Arete

No, the economic problem predates the refugees by a considerable margin. Truth be told, the Greek government has spent virtually nothing on the refugees, with the exception of the money involved in sea rescues. Partly because truth be told it has no money right now and homeless and hungry Greeks one spark away from rioting in the capital, partly because the refugees use Greece as an entry point into Europe, the goal being the richer countries like Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands.

Greece needs the financial help of the ultimate goal countries to process refugees. It is a country of 10 million in a Depression that has taken in a quarter of a million refugees this summer alone. But it also has a no account, good for nothing government that refuses to give this problem any attention at all.

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samurai_sarah
Offshore processing. If there were camps in Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia (I know two aren't European, but this is worldwide problem, not just a ME/Europe issue). etc. from where safe states accepted people - even if it was on a temporary protection visa (i.e.: until it was regarded as safe to return to a country of origin). Anyone that doesn't go through processing gets returned to camps and not accepted in a 3rd country under any circumstances.

Basically, a hybrid of Vietnamese/baltic states processing worked.

Without alternatives, people will keep coming. The only way to "stop" it, is regulate the flow of people.

I think the issue is political will. Also a significant head of resentment built up from countries that have signed the refugee convention vis a vie other countries that haven't. We need more states on board.

The present system strikes me as cutting of your nose to spite your face. We now have technology that enables people to move when there is conflict. That people will move is now inevitable. And the numbers are nothing like WWII, on which the present model is built.

IMO the current refugee model doesn't work (the protection categories are too limited; does not work in conjunction with a managed migration program because it effectively operates as a bypass system; those that do wait end up spending years in camps etc...) If we want to be able to maintain a right of states to managed migration, then we need to build in ways to deal with the mass movement of people.

What aretejo said about bad will is pertinent. its poison, to all of us.

I like the idea, but like you can already hear the public outcry against it. Especially Germany and the UK will be adamantly against it, despite it being the far more humanitarian solution than what we have right now. I suspect that Germany would groan the loudest, point to the Greece bailout and demanding to know who's going to pay. And the UK will continue it's rhetoric of "we're a small overcrowded island as it is".

Then there are the more practical aspects of organising such a scheme. The safe countries would want guarantees that the EU is really going to process and not just fling their borders open to all, and probably remuneration. Staff would have to be trained and hired, facilities provided, transport organised etc. At the speed European collaboration has worked so far, plus making all the necessary changes in law, it'll take a long time to set that up.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't do something like you proposed, on the contrary, I'm just being a pessimist about seeing something like that getting set up.

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samurai_sarah
No, the economic problem predates the refugees by a considerable margin. Truth be told, the Greek government has spent virtually nothing on the refugees, with the exception of the money involved in sea rescues. Partly because truth be told it has no money right now and homeless and hungry Greeks one spark away from rioting in the capital, partly because the refugees use Greece as an entry point into Europe, the goal being the richer countries like Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands.

Greece needs the financial help of the ultimate goal countries to process refugees. It is a country of 10 million in a Depression that has taken in a quarter of a million refugees this summer alone. But it also has a no account, good for nothing government that refuses to give this problem any attention at all.

To which the answer from the German electorate will be "no, no more help for Greece - what we need to do is catch the boats in Libyan waters, and return them to Libya, while rooting out traffickers". Because that's a brilliant idea, what could possibly go wrong? And Libya and the other North African states will be delighted too!

But of course you're right, Greece needs financial help from the ultimate goal countries to process the refugees. Only, as long as the Dublin Regulation is in effect it is against Greece's interest to process refugees properly. As far as I'm aware only Finland and Germany have a policy in which they do not act on the Regulation when it comes to Greece, and send no one back. The same doesn't go for Italy.

If Greece and Italy did start registering every refugee properly, then they'd be responsible for pretty much everyone. Although Germany is already making noises about bringing border patrols back, and the UK never joined Schengen in the first place. Germany's great idea is currently really trying to root out traffickers. But at least the Austrian minister for the interior had a humanitarian idea today and suggested creating safe routes for refugees from the borders of the EU to their final destinations.

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jaelh

I like the idea, but like you can already hear the public outcry against it. Especially Germany and the UK will be adamantly against it, despite it being the far more humanitarian solution than what we have right now. I suspect that Germany would groan the loudest, point to the Greece bailout and demanding to know who's going to pay. And the UK will continue it's rhetoric of "we're a small overcrowded island as it is".

Then there are the more practical aspects of organising such a scheme. The safe countries would want guarantees that the EU is really going to process and not just fling their borders open to all, and probably remuneration. Staff would have to be trained and hired, facilities provided, transport organised etc. At the speed European collaboration has worked so far, plus making all the necessary changes in law, it'll take a long time to set that up.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't do something like you proposed, on the contrary, I'm just being a pessimist about seeing something like that getting set up.

Oh, as am I. Deeply pessimistic. And yet....

once the environmental conditions really start deteriorating, a trickle becomes a river becomes a flood becomes the whole damn sea.

I know this migration is into Europe, but we both need to assist and place people around the world - Asia, the Americas, Australia-Pacific, etc. There are populations in dire need that aren't coming out of the middle east - the Rhonigha, for example. An inability for their community to be processed/obtain asylum in any Asian country (bar Cambodia) is madness. You're right European states will complain, which is why other states need to be involved. There should be movement in other directions, not just into Europe.*

Getting non-signatory states on board matters. Getting buy in from already receiving states matters. How to do this when the world economy is tottering and xenophobia is on the rise... I don't know. I'm with you that it's unlikely. I do think that offering temporary protection rights only is going to be important. No expectation of lifetime settlement or citizenship. At least in the short term. Maybe only if you can't return for 10 years or something like that? Only sweetener I can envision for anyone, at this point. Other than constant reminders that this is going to get worse with future conflicts.

Europe/Middle East is particularly "vulnerable" to large movements of people because of the number of common borders/the nearness of north Africa. The Americas/Australia/NZ can pretend that it's not so much of a problem because of the giant expanse of sea. That's a problem for getting their buy in.

And yet.. We are getting - slowly - towards climate adoption targets. With three steps forward and two back, and every now and again a giant jump backwards. But we are inching forward. We need to start talking about how we can do this.

But this particular, fucking horrible situation..

"Never again", right? What the fuck happened to never again?

What we're seeing may well be the new normal in 30, 40, 50 years. How do we go about reframing the discussion and shaping political will on this? Anyone got any ideas?**

*re the whole: this wouldn't' have happened if it weren't for the West! And yet, it would not have happened without Russia, or local elites riding the backs on their people, without local stoking of racial and religious hatreds and so on. Not saying the west doesn't have responsibility, just that there's a great deal of responsibility to go around.

**This is much bigger picture than the current flight from situation, but I have seen a number of grants handed out, largely for justifications that observe if we don't get X [area of study] right, there will potentially be a whole lot more people moving in the next few decades. So why don't we try and improve X?

I think there is, at least at some level, a real awareness of what the big picture is. How do we translate it to the mainstream though? Because it's about far more than just letting people in/out - how do we do it well? How do we help people stay? (more pertinent for enviro/economic migration - which will prob be indistinguishable for a long time) Why do we need to do this? This is an issue that encompass an enormous range of issues.

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Arete

I think we are well past patrolling Lybian waters, because that is not how this group is traveling. The Turkish mafias are helping them come into Turkey over land (for a mere 10,000 Euro), and getting them to the coast of Turkey, after which it's only an hour by boat to reach the eastern most Greek islands. While I realize a lot of Germans have developed an irrational fear that some more of their precious money might wind up in a lazy, worthless Greek hands, it is kind of unseemingly to have refugees dying of starvation and cholera within the borders of Europe because none of us wanted to pay for some chicken and soap. Screw paperwork, money is needed right this minute for them to have clean food and water.

Yesterday the Austrians found 70 dead bodies in a truck outside Vienna. Refugees. That is going to be only a fraction of the butcher's Bill if we don't sit and at least try to find some solutions.

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samurai_sarah
I think we are well past patrolling Lybian waters, because that is not how this group is traveling. The Turkish mafias are helping them come into Turkey over land (for a mere 10,000 Euro), and getting them to the coast of Turkey, after which it's only an hour by boat to reach the eastern most Greek islands. While I realize a lot of Germans have developed an irrational fear that some more of their precious money might wind up in a lazy, worthless Greek hands, it is kind of unseemingly to have refugees dying of starvation and cholera within the borders of Europe because none of us wanted to pay for some chicken and soap. Screw paperwork, money is needed right this minute for them to have clean food and water.

Yesterday the Austrians found 70 dead bodies in a truck outside Vienna. Refugees. That is going to be only a fraction of the butcher's Bill if we don't sit and at least try to find some solutions.

I completely agree with you. This is already a huge humanitarian crisis that'll only get worse! But the "Stammtischbrüder" (elderly conservative men, who gather at the same table at the same pub every day) are busy punishing Greece, worried about "Überfremdung" (the fear of becoming the ethnic minority) and terribly worried about their tax-money. And our government being more concerned with keeping them happy comes up with ideas like "border controls" or "if only we stop the traffickers...".

Seriously, the response from our conservative politicians to the tragedy in Austria was "we have to come down harder on traffickers!". It's like, when your house is on fire and your neighbour just stands there going: "Can I have that five Euro I lent you back? No, no water from me - I need it for myself, and do you think I'm made of money. You should have done something about your water supply years ago. Oh, there's other people in there with you? That's really rough. Tell you what, I'll call the police so they can round up all arsonists. Also, when you're done here, please build a nicer house with a better water-supply. Can I have my fiver back now?"

It's revolting, how we're in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, and instead of just providing help, the EU states are busy squabbling and bickering, and building new garden fences. The Austrian minister has it right - refugees need safe passage NOW, the rest of the EU has to get over themselves, and money is usually the quickest way to help. The people on the ground know what they need and having funds available will be a greater relief than sending one's old clothes. But try telling the inter-European brotherhood of "Stammtischbrüder" that! They'll tell you that they once donated a pair of old shoes to the Red Cross, that they're entitled to their opinion!

While the Med turns into a mass-grave. Human life by human life. Because the EU is squabbling about money and quotas. Because the next elections will come. And we want our five Euros back, and you really should have fixed your water-pipes years ago!

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samurai_sarah
(snip)

Oh, as am I. Deeply pessimistic. And yet....

once the environmental conditions really start deteriorating, a trickle becomes a river becomes a flood becomes the whole damn sea.

I know this migration is into Europe, but we both need to assist and place people around the world - Asia, the Americas, Australia-Pacific, etc. There are populations in dire need that aren't coming out of the middle east - the Rhonigha, for example. An inability for their community to be processed/obtain asylum in any Asian country (bar Cambodia) is madness. You're right European states will complain, which is why other states need to be involved. There should be movement in other directions, not just into Europe.*

Getting non-signatory states on board matters. Getting buy in from already receiving states matters. How to do this when the world economy is tottering and xenophobia is on the rise... I don't know. I'm with you that it's unlikely. I do think that offering temporary protection rights only is going to be important. No expectation of lifetime settlement or citizenship. At least in the short term. Maybe only if you can't return for 10 years or something like that? Only sweetener I can envision for anyone, at this point. Other than constant reminders that this is going to get worse with future conflicts.

Europe/Middle East is particularly "vulnerable" to large movements of people because of the number of common borders/the nearness of north Africa. The Americas/Australia/NZ can pretend that it's not so much of a problem because of the giant expanse of sea. That's a problem for getting their buy in.

And yet.. We are getting - slowly - towards climate adoption targets. With three steps forward and two back, and every now and again a giant jump backwards. But we are inching forward. We need to start talking about how we can do this.

But this particular, fucking horrible situation..

"Never again", right? What the fuck happened to never again?

What we're seeing may well be the new normal in 30, 40, 50 years. How do we go about reframing the discussion and shaping political will on this? Anyone got any ideas?**

*re the whole: this wouldn't' have happened if it weren't for the West! And yet, it would not have happened without Russia, or local elites riding the backs on their people, without local stoking of racial and religious hatreds and so on. Not saying the west doesn't have responsibility, just that there's a great deal of responsibility to go around.

**This is much bigger picture than the current flight from situation, but I have seen a number of grants handed out, largely for justifications that observe if we don't get X [area of study] right, there will potentially be a whole lot more people moving in the next few decades. So why don't we try and improve X?

I think there is, at least at some level, a real awareness of what the big picture is. How do we translate it to the mainstream though? Because it's about far more than just letting people in/out - how do we do it well? How do we help people stay? (more pertinent for enviro/economic migration - which will prob be indistinguishable for a long time) Why do we need to do this? This is an issue that encompass an enormous range of issues.

I'm on board with your ideas and believe that we need to work on all fronts. First, create a quick and comprehensive system for processing refugees safely. Second, alter the asylum-system and residency permits. Third, change the discourse about refugees and migrants. Fourth, think long-term.

Sadly, what I see is that our EU governments aren't thinking long-term. They're thinking about the next elections, and what the electorate will want to hear from them. And that is currently not a friendly message, but one of quick-fixes to fears, and a few concessions to humanity.

Living in the UK, being German - bona fide migrant- I couldn't sleep last night. When I can't sleep, I read the Daily Mail. Headlines were "How many more migrants CAN we take?" and "70 migrants found dead in Austria" (the first one is the actual headline, including the spelling. The second I paraphrased). The first article accused David Cameron of not keeping his promise of reducing migrant numbers. The second one was a weepy article about the tragedy in Austria. The juxtaposition made me vomit. Fortress Britain, but look at all those poor souls who died...

At the same time, all I read in the German news is "another fire-bombing of emergency accommodation for refugees", followed by "so-and-so has spoken out against it", followed by "politician suggests measure that will not alleviate any suffering, but welcome to Germany to those who made it".

I know it's pointless to complain about that and rage. The important thing is that the politicians always have their eye on the next election, want to keep their voters satisfied, and there is no central power in the EU that can just say "eff you, we're doing this". The European Courts of Justice could, to a degree, if someone could bring a case. Trouble being that it'd be extremely difficult to bring a case against the whole of the EU for a violation against human rights. By the time the EU Courts of Justice decided at their snail's pace, the respective parliaments had implemented new laws, everything got set up, it would be way too late for so many people.

"Never again" - yeah, what happened to that one? It has a rather hollow ring to it now. When it seems that we have to start from the back, by changing the rhetoric first and create understanding, instead of simply seeing human beings, who need help. Now!

And then, there are the problems that @laPapessaGiovanna mentioned in Italy. Organised crime earns good money from refugees and being so enmeshed in politics that they get all the contracts to build and provide housing for refugees. Like the traffickers, everyone is making money off of human suffering, or saving it by not helping.

The EU is looking at a genocide, and people frantically knocking on the doors. Instead, we bicker and argue about money. The humanitarian thing to do would be to put it all aside, set up camps, organise a system, provide quick humanitarian help, without red-tape.

The 71 women, men and children who died in that lorry in Austria were most likely Syrian refugees. If we, the EU, could get our act together, this would not have happened. We did this! This is our fault!

But it seems that we have to start this thing out backwards. Fist change EU minds, and then help. Goodness knows for how many it'll be too late by then.

(P.S.: Seems that Germany has suspended the Dublin Regulation for Syrians. Somehow I missed that during my daily news-binge. It means that at least Syrians are no longer bound by the rule that they have to stay in the EU country where they touch ground. Tiny step into the right direction, Germany. Now, EU, let's sort this out, before it gets EVEN worse!)

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Arete

We could start changing minds by changing language. It matters. I can't stand that word "migrant" and what usually comes after."We're here, we're Muslim, and we"re coming for your jobs and lands!" These people are not giving 10000 Euro a piece to essentially slavers for the chance to work at Siemens or Marks&Spencer. They are quite literally running for their lives from bombs, from head hackers, from psychopathic rapists. These are victims of war, not economic migrants. There is a fucking difference. Greeks are currently economic migrants all over the world, yeah it's tough but they don't have to decide if it's better to drown or suffocate with your baby. Syrians do. Start using the right descriptors for the situation. Right now people lie to themselves that this is some sort of jobs competition or cultural invasion. FFS, that is obscene to let the demagogues hijack the discourse.

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sawasdee

And how many of the Daily Mail type readers even think of the levels of fear and desperation that make people risk their lives to find some sort of sanctuary? Most of those in Western Europe have no personal experience to help them imagine what horrors so many of these refugees are fleeing.

I don't know what answers are possible within a time frame that will help the hundreds of thousands now arriving. I don't know how to change hearts and minds within the EU. Most frighteningly, I don't know how we stem the rising popularity of the far right in many EU countries, as they exploit this terrible situation for their own gain.

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