The „refugees crisis“

Security threat or impulse for rethinking?

Corinna Metz/Hannes Swoboda


Terrorism, radicalisation and separation on the one hand, solidarity, human rights and multiculturalism on the other hand – these are only some catchphrases demonstrating which extremes collide in the refugees debate. The original wave of cooperativeness has faded away and is now superposed by security qualms associated with the influx of persons seeking asylums. Terrible terrorist attacks, sexual trespasses, violent demonstrations and incendiary attacks on refugee accommodations increasingly heat up the atmosphere, thus offering justification for making reciprocate prejudices permanent, which can become dangerous on their part. The number of people having to flee from their home countries because of fear of persecution, conflicts, violence and breaches of human rights is the highest ever recorded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). By the end of 2015 already 65,3 millions of people were fleeing all over the world, and one can assume that the trend of increasing refugee numbers since 2011 will have continued in 2016. According to the UNHCR, the war inSyriais one important factor which has contributed to this development. Furthermore, this trend also can be traced down to new armed conflicts and to the continuance of unsolved crises (like inBurundi,Iraq,Libya,Niger,Nigeria,Afghanistan, Central Africa,Congo, SouthSudanandYemen). In 2015 only 201.400 people could return into their home countries, which is only a small part compared with the total numbers of refugees. In the course of the last year,Turkey,Pakistan,Lebanon,Ethiopia,Jordan,Kenya,Uganda,CongoandChadaccepted the greatest number of people. So the states accepting most refugees are in developing regions, and, in worldwide comparison, they host a disproportionate number despite their status as countries with low and medial revenues. There is no panacea – neither for the conflicts in the neighbourhood of the EU, nor for the dealing with the so-called “refugees crisis” – there is only a bundle of solutions which are to be followed conjointly within the EU and in cooperation with our neighbours. A comprehensive security policy ought to start pre-emptively, leading to a situation in which as few people as possible feel themselves forced to flee. The people coming toEuropein search of protection deserve human treatment and an opportunity to be integrated. On the long run, this migration – despite all challenges – can not only enrich multicultural coexistence in Europe, but can also serve as a bridge toEurope’s neighbours. Especially for the demographically ageing states migration in general is no threat, but an asset instead. An important premise is a reform of rights of asylum inEurope. According to the migration researcher Thomas Straubhaar, in the area of tension of national interests, international agreements and moral obligations, the task of a pragmatic immigration policy ought to be to regulate labour migration first, family reunion second, and refugees migrations third. This policy must not permit to be exploited by interest groups for their own purposes.