The Refugee Crisis in Europe Doesn’t Exist

By Albena Azmanova.


Syrian family displaced to Qaa in Lebanon. Credit: Freedom House via FlickrIt is the discursive construction of the situation as ‘crisis’ that bestows justification to such cruel quick fixes as the EU-Turkey accord that was adopted on Friday.

We should refuse to call it ‘crisis’. The situation is grave, but hardly a crisis. There is an increased inflow of asylum seekers and a number of European countries are refusing to process asylum claims, although the EU has capacity, know-how, and funds (how about that 6 billion given to Turkey to manage its asylum facilities?) to accommodate everyone.

This is not a masterful policy response to a crisis, as the EU institutions’ narrative goes, but a de facto submission to the will of some countries to block immigration.

The EU-Turkey agreement is problematic legally and morally, but as long as countries are refusing to process asylum claims, there aren’t a whole lot of other options.

This agreement might be genuinely aiming to stop the life-threatening trafficking and smuggling from Turkey (as its authors in the Dutch Labour party first conceived it), or it might aggravate the problem, as Amnesty International warns.

In any case, the accord is likely to be used by some EU member states as an excuse to continue shutting out asylum seekers. The move to stop the injustice of human trafficking has thus become yet another idea of the humanist left, hijacked by the xenophobic right for the purposes of its reactionary agenda.

Yet, no clause in this by now infamous agreement absolves EU members from their duties to accept the substantial resettlement of refugees from the countries of entry, provide them with decent living conditions, as well as the obligation of the EU to secure a safe path into Europe for people fleeing war and persecution. This is what we should be pressing for.

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