Opinion: Europe and the Refugee Crisis

By Jake L. Burke,
International News Writer

This past January, Sweden’s interior ministry announced that it plans to expel 80,000 of the 160,000 migrants it has received this year.

Around the same time, Denmark’s Nationalist party doubled in size, buoyed by plans to move migrants out of cities and into tent camps, and Germany has begun the long process of vetting migrants in hopes of weeding out those who have come to the country solely for economic reasons. In all three countries, nationalist parties are growing in popularity at an alarming rate.

This was a strategic error, however, and not an act of charity gone awry.

The liberal democracies of northern Europe did not ultimately take in refugees out of kindness, but for pragmatic reasons.

They have seen severe drops in population, and the demographic twilight caused policy makers concern for the long-term viability of their states as well as  the immediate state of their social welfare institutions. With fewer and fewer young people paying into these services, it remains a mathematical impossibility for the programs to continue without a significant debt burden.

Many within these countries believed that they could recreate the successes of multi-ethnic states such as China, the USA, Russia and Canada within their own borders. However, these multi-ethnic systems evolved over time, and states such as Germany risk recreating past evils. Evidence suggests that migrants are subjected to discrimination and persecution.

With this in mind, it is safe to say that European states have pursed their interests and, in many ways, taken the path of least resistance.

The rise in sexual assaults, perpetrated against both European nationals and foreign refugees, along with rioting and an overall rise in crime and neo-Nazi activities, would lead one to believe that it is Europe that has suffered the most from the refugee crisis. In actuality, it is the Middle East that has lost the most.

The refugee crisis assures that Syria and Iraq will never be the same and will most likely not be stable for another generation.

With so my of their brightest minds and young people fleeing to Europe and leaving the poor, sickly, or old to resist the advance of radicalists like ISIS, the destabilization of the region is likely to worsen. Rather than do the hard work of shifting through the issues at hand and working on rebuilding the Middle East (even if that required defeating terrorist groups), Europe has chosen to be a passive actor, accepting the refugees in the hopes that it brings some benefit to them.

The refugees themselves will suffer, as the journey is dangerous and the local populations are increasingly unwelcoming. The countries to which they flee suffer as well with increased crime rates and welfare expenditures that further destabilize the situation.

Two men were recently arrested in Syria on charges of smuggling in connection to the now infamous death of the 3 year-old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi. However, if current, policies continue, can we expect anything other than more deaths as other smugglers take their place?

Contact Jake at
Jake.burke@student.shu.edu

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 12th print edition.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Stillman Exchange publication.

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