ISSN 2330-717X

EU Must Urgently Reverse Approach To Refugee Situation – OpEd


It is reported that Austria and nine Balkan states have agreed on several measures to stop the flow of refugees into Europe from West Asia, Afghanistan and other developing countries. These 10 EU nations facing the brunt of the refugee problem have taken a firm stand in spite of the fact that European Union has been dithering over the issue, unable to arrive at a pragmatic and practical approach to this vexed issue.


Obviously, some of the countries like Germany have provided sort of encouragement to the refugees by taking a humane approach, without understanding the grim issues that the flow of refugees would cause to the stability of Germany in particular and Europe in general.

It appears that the Austria and nine Balkan states have agreed during a meeting in Vienna to keep more of the migrants in Greece, which is the primary point of entry into the European Union. However, the fact is that the economy of Greece is already in the brink ,facing extremely difficult conditions and massive influx of refugees into Greece and their movement being prevented beyond Greece would create an impossible situation for Greece. It would have been more appropriate for Austria and Balkan states to take some coordinated steps to prevent entry of refugees into Greece itself.

Some of the European countries who thought that they should take humane approach in tackling the refugee issue seem to be confused and lack clarity in policy. It is particularly surprising that European countries like Germany, who have adopted soft policy towards refugees, have failed to realize that they do not really help the refugees by allowing them to enter into their territory.

On the other hand, the soft policy towards refugees have tempted thousands of people facing war and poverty conditions in West Asia and other part of the world , to seek to enter Europe, thinking that they can share the prosperity of European countries sooner or later. However, the fact is that the refugees have not understood that their entry would be resented by the local population and they would be really made to live like second class or third class citizens for long time to come. Such refugees who are entering Europe will have a miserable life , will be suspected and will be hated and will face the wrath of the local population. The children of the refugee parents, who helplessly face such animosity and virtually become state less persons, would blame their parents for placing them in such unenviable conditions when they would grow up.

Governments of some European countries which think that they are magnanimous in accommodating the refugees are already realizing that they are biting more than what they can chew. The negative effects of entry of thousands of refugees into Europe will have adverse or negative implications for Europe’s harmony and stability for long time to come. It would soon be seen that bitterness would happen between European countries, as the refugees would move from one European country to another in the present “border less and visa free situation”. Unity of Europe will be seriously threatened.


Many people are surprised that such well informed governments in European countries like Germany have been so naïve in viewing this refugee crisis and adopting a practical and feasible approach.

While Austria and nine Balkan states have taken a pragmatic view and hard stand based on ground realities , other European nations including Germany really have no alternative other than following the lead shown by Austria and nine Balkan states. They need to do this sooner or later and in all probability sooner than later.

It is high time that an acceptable global policy in dealing with the refugee / migrant issue are devised and appropriate initiative has to be taken by United Nations Organisation.

When unsettled conditions occur in any country in the world, making the conditions extremely difficult for citizens , resulting in their fleeing to more peaceful regions, United Nations has to necessarily interfere and ensure peace in the strife torn countries either by persuasion or by force. This is inevitable. Developed and matured countries should make it possible for United Nations Organisation to adopt and implement such a policy.

In spite of the fact that the grave implications of refugee crisis are clear, and well known the enlightened governments in Europe are unable to evolve a unified strategy. This is already proving costly.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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