April 23, 2015

EU holds emergency summit on migration crisis

The European Union is holding an emergency summit today to discuss the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

The number of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean has skyrocketed amidst social and political unrest in the Middle East. The number of people entering Greece illegally tripled in the first three months of this year to 10,455, compared with just 2,863 for the same period in 2014.

Overcrowded boats and dangerous weather conditions for the smugglers’ boats have led to an increasingly worrying rise in migrant deaths. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the death rate this year is 30 times higher than the same period last year.

European leaders will be discussing immediate possible actions to relieve the numbers of migrant deaths.

Pia Orrenius has written about ways to deal with illegal migration flows, stating that over-enforcement can have negative consequences. Increasing border controls can be particularly costly, and can lead to a rise in dangerous and illegal crossings. She says that policymakers should focus on addressing the underlying forces driving migration in the first place.

Managing flows of asylum seekers has always been a contentious issue. Tim Hatton suggests that offering asylum should be portrayed as a "public good." He suggests that Europe should share the burden across several member states, commenting that "such policies are economically desirable and are more politically feasible than is sometimes believed."

Read more here.

Related articles:
Setting policy on asylum: Has the EU got it right? by Tim Hatton
Enforcement and illegal migration, by Pia Orrenius