The European Union is currently in the midst of an historically unprecedented wave of immigration. In 2014, more than 130,000 people sought refugee status in Europe. Fewer than 25,000 of those qualified for some form of protection (as an asylum seeker or refugee). And this year, tens of thousands of migrants have sought to enter Europe. Many are fleeing warzones—like those immigrating from Syria—while many more are economic refugees.
Thousands of migrants have already died trying to reach Europe. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) has stated that the European Union has a “clear responsibility” to aid refugees seeking to immigrate, but the response from many European Union Member States has been to close down immigration possibilities. But several tensions play out. While the European Union has rules governing immigration, many of the governments of the Member States oppose the EU’s policies and have refused to enforce them. Further, many far-right anti-EU parties have used the European Union’s immigration policies as a focal point for mobilization, increasing anti-EU sentiment.
What do you think? What steps should the European Union take to address the refugee crisis it current faces? How could the EU address the concerns expressed by many Member States, particularly those in Eastern and Southern Europe, around the financial costs imposed by the EU’s immigration policy on Member States?