The European Refugee Situation

DanRoM

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This is a forum, people. Topics are structured into different threads because having them all in one thread is confusing. So, here it is, an own thread dedicated to the refugee situation in and around the European Union.

So, here we have it: One the one hand, there is the ongoing war against IS in Syria (well, what's left of it) and Iraq (which is basically reduced to Baghdad because the Kurdistan Region might as well count as a different country).
Because of this, basically everyone in Syria seems to try to be granted asylum in Europe - and especially Germany.

My personal opinion: After slowly becoming more and more ashamed of being German since last winter because Nazis were (are?) on the rise once again (yes, to me "Pegida" et al. have to be classified as Nazis), culminating in worryingly regular cases of arson in buildings that were to be used as refugee shelters, the last weeks have me for the first time ever be kind of proud of Germany. I am honestly astonished that Merkel of all people does something that's morally right - opening the borders (officially, since we don't actually have physical borders...) for people fleeing from a warzone. And the volunteers helping the arriving refugees, seemingly without any kind of organization (how un-German).
Yes, we (Germany) invite a whole bunch of problems this way. Handing out some food and clothes at train stations is easier than sheltering more than a million people for longer. So, I am worried too.

The other aspect of the situation is the European perspective. This situation is a serious strain on the European Union. It was already crackling because the economy going down the drain (Sidenote: It's not a "economic crisis". Crises pass.) and now I genuinely fear the powderkegs around the continent - the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East - causing basically everyone to try and come to (North-Western) Europe will destroy the EU before long.
The solution of course isn't to erect border fences - the EU is about working together, to get rid of borders, to distribute freedom. Well, it used to be...

Also, an editorial note: I am aware that I don't back my words with any kind of hard facts here. It's just my opinion and feelings. You lot are of course very welcome to an open discussion. :)
 

AiR

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The problem with Germany throwing the Dublin convention out the window is that we are left without a legal framework. And Merkel (who held a mutual press conference with our PM L?fven this week) seems to think she can convince the eastern members to share the load quick and easy. This won't happen. Eastern Europe haven't got the slightest inclination to accept tens of thousands of refugees from MENA.

Swedish finance minister is already in talks with the EIB to loan money to afford the refugees, and this is a party which has at every possible time made a point that borrowing is the worst thing one can do. "One who is in debt is never free", as former PM Persson said. We have no money for dealing with the long queues in the healthcare, we have no money for our underfunded schools, we have no money for subsidising new constructions so 25-year olds can move out (yes, we're becoming a bit like Italy). The housing situation for citizens is already crazy.

But when it comes to refugees, there's all the money in the world. Nobody in the ruling establishment ever asks if the costs are reasonable. And this is of course why the "fascists" (who it has to be said have made several purges of people found to be too extreme, just today they purged their whole youth organisation) is now, depending on which polling agency you ask, the biggest or second biggest party in the land. The "rise of the fascists" seems to be the same in much of Europe.

Here's data on granted asylum applications before the recent flood. Note the percentage approved and the per capita intake of Sweden. It's insane. Our system can't handle this, and only the "fascists" are willing to talk about it.

 
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MacGuffin

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I'm a pragmastist.

I see that our populations grow smaller, leaving a problem for both the young and the old, because it's our system that the young pay for the pensions of the elders. That system only works as long as there are enough young ones. And it looks like we will be missing 16 million new citizens by the middle of the century in Germany alone.

So I say: Let them come. Integrate them, make them feel welcome. We need them. Our economy needs them. And all the young people today might need them, too, when they grow old.

The problem: Germany is actually an immigration country without an immigration law. There is no law that regulates the process, if someone comes here and says "Hey, your country seems to be a nice place to live, I'd like to come and stay here, work here, pay my taxes here, found a family here, spend my money here and get old here. So can I become German?"

I think we will need such a law in order to control the incoming flood of refugees. And if other countries don't want to have those refugees for puny reasons, it's their loss. That's the way I see it. If we play our cards right, this is going to be a win-win situation for both us and the new citizens. I see no real obstacles in the way, to be honest.

The problem with Germany throwing the Dublin convention out the window is that we are left without a legal framework. And Merkel (who held a mutual press conference with our PM L?fven this week) seems to think she can convince the eastern members to share the load quick and easy. This won't happen. Eastern Europe haven't got the slightest inclination to accept tens of thousands of refugees from MENA.
Thing is that the Dublin convention has become completely pointless. Reality made it obsolete and without a framing legal structure of how to deal with hundreds of thousands of refugees coming to Europe, it's also absolutely worthless. Merkel only said what was already more than obvious.

I also see no solution in trying to spread the refugees throughout the EU. Refugees are not like packages you can ship to specific locations. DHL cannot transport them. They will go where they want to go and no one will be able to stop them - unless you put them into huge prison camps. When they choose to go to Germany, they will do everything to get here, no matter if you send them to France instead. And if they want to go to Sweden, they will do everything to get there, too. Don't think for a moment that these streams of hundreds of thousands of people can be controlled. I think many people vastly underestimate the determination of those refugees. Think of all the exertions and dangers they were willing to face on their way here. Do you think a fence or some police dogs will be able to stop them?

They intend to come here and they will stay here. The only choice we really have is whether we welcome and integrate them for the sake of our own future or if we treat them like criminals and intruders?

After all - and that shouldn't be forgotten - it's the Western World that's responsible for generating the problem in the first place, with politics and causes that date back into the 19th century.
 
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Cavi Mike

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So I say: Let them come. Integrate them, make them feel welcome. We need them. Our economy needs them. And all the young people today might need them, too, when they grow old.
As long as these people are willing to be contributing members of Germany's society.
 

AiR

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As long as these people are willing to be contributing members of Germany's society.
Hey look something we agree on! Problem is they will be eligible for benefits that they have not paid for. That's the real challenge we face. What do we do with the people who do not contribute? Who do not want to integrate? Send them back? Cut them off? What then? It's making the bed for trouble.

I'm a pragmastist.
I agree with many things you say (although leave the guilt card at home, it's not our fault their nation went to shit. It's a mess of their own fucking creation) but you aren't a pragmatist, you're an idealist. What we face is an avalanche of people who may or may not be Syrian (Afghan refugees are ripping up their passports and pretending to be Syrian) who may or may not have skills that we can use. If we can integrate all of them, then great. But we won't be able to. A large portion will undoubtedly be a drain on our coffers forever. We can only take in that many.

What Merkel did was rip up the framework we had in place. I do not care what you think of the rules. The rules are meant to be followed. No exceptions! Germany is normally very good at this. Now we have no framework, and more than half of Europe is in no mood to agree to new ones. It's fucking anarchy.
 
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MacGuffin

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The European Refugee Situation

You seem to think there is still a choice. But there's not.

They are coming, whether we like it or not. The only choice we have is how to treat them: With hospitality or the Hungarian way?

Also, never forget that they didn't WANT to come here. Those are people who lost their property, their homes, often their loved ones. They were driven from their home countries and they're deeply traumatized.

So above all, it is a matter of compassion, which is a very Christian thing and we shouldn't forget about our own strong values in this situation.
 
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Cavi Mike

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Problem is they will be eligible for benefits that they have not paid for. That's the real challenge we face. What do we do with the people who do not contribute? Who do not want to integrate? Send them back? Cut them off? What then? It's making the bed for trouble.
What benefits would that be? They're not dipping into your savings account. Well, they actually ARE until they start earning their own money.

The benefits people are using today are paid for by other people of today, not yesterday. When Social Security was developed here in the US, old people started receiving benefits right then, it wasn't a savings account for the young working people.
 
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AiR

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They are coming, whether we like it or not. The only choice we have is how to treat them: With hospitality or the Hungarian way?
Hungary is doing the best with what they have. They are a poor nation making up the frontier of the European Union. They followed the rules that your chancellor threw out the window.

Also, never forget that they didn't WANT to come here. Those are people who lost their property, their homes, often their loved ones. They were driven from their home countries and they're deeply traumatized.
Oh they are VERY SPECIFIC about where they want to go. Their destinations are GERMANY and SWEDEN because that's where they get the most BENEFITS. Else they would stop in Greece, or Bulgaria, or Hungary, or Austria, or Romania. Or anywhere else in Europe. They don't even want to stay in DENMARK, a nation which has all of the Nordic countries benefits, but have altered the rules so that you need to earn them first.
So above all, it is a matter of compassion, which is a very Christian thing and we shouldn't forget about our own strong values in this situation.
I only have as much compassion as my country can afford. And let me tell you, that pot is draining rapidly. Our nations can't be the conscience of the world god dammit.

What benefits would that be? They're not dipping into your savings account. Well, they actually ARE until they start earning their own money.
I think you answered your own question. Some will never earn their own money. We do not have a labour market for unskilled labour. Even cleaners need high school education here.

I welcome everyone who are willing to learn a new language (because nobody will employ a person who does not speak Swedish) and have a skill set we can use. But I'm a realist, many refugees people won't be able to do this. Should we pay for their expenses forever? No, because we can't. But as the laws are written right now, we must. Hence the rise of the "fascists". The only ones who realize this is a problem. The social democrats, the left, the green, nobody wants to acknowledge this.
 
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Matt2000

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All I will say on this situation is that there are no clear boundaries between refugee and immigrant. How far can a refugee travel through parts of the world where they are safe and far from war until they can no longer be classed as such?
 

MacGuffin

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Hungary is doing the best with what they have. They are a poor nation making up the frontier of the European Union. They followed the rules that your chancellor threw out the window.
It seems they weren't even able to put some mobile toilets there for the refugees. All of the food and the tents were donated by private, compassionate Hungarians, the state did absolutely nothing but bullying the refugees. If that means European values for you, you got something completely wrong. But maybe you sympathize with the politics of Hungarian prime minister and nationalist demagogue Viktor Orban? :dunno:

And again: Merkel did not throw the Dublin convention out of the window but merely gave in to humanitarian requirements. I'm no friend of Merkel, nor have I elected her. I disagree with her on many things but that one at least she got right.

The whole Dublin convention was rendered pointless and worthless by reality. It was never designed to handle such a high number of refugees in the first place and it was incomplete, because it lacks a solution about what to actually do with refugees once they have entered the EU. Strictly following the Dublin convention would mean telling Italy and Greece "Well, the refugees are your problem, have a nice day" and we both know that is idiotic. Well, at least I think we both know it, one can never be too sure about national egoism.

Why is it so hard to understand for you that at some point you gotta let go of pointless rules in the interest of humanity? From what you write, it seems to me you're more worried about what the whole crisis will do to your wallet and not how people in need can be helped. I hope I'm wrong with that.

I understand, though, that it's a bigger strain on your country than on mine. On the other hand, though, Sweden always leads the lists when it comes to the best places to live - and I guess you're proud of that. However, the very reasons that made Sweden lead those lists are attracting refugees now. Sorry for the inconvenience. But what do you wanna do? Become a less attractive country in the future?

I don't think that Germany or Sweden are the issue here anyway. Both our countries do what they can and I admit that Germany might have another approach also due to its history. The mejority of people here still always look for a way to redeem themselves in the eyes of the world.

But in the end this is a test of European morals and values. And so far many countries don't make a good impression in that area...

All I will say on this situation is that there are no clear boundaries between refugee and immigrant. How far can a refugee travel through parts of the world where they are safe and far from war until they can no longer be classed as such?
It depends on how they are being treated. When they are welcomed by being put into prison camps or being left in the cold without food, water and minimum sanitation standards, then I understand they don't want to stay there. Would you?
 
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AiR

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I understand, though, that it's a bigger strain on your country than on mine. Sweden always leads the lists when it comes to the best places to live - and I guess you're proud of that. However, the very reasons that made Sweden lead those lists are attracting refugees now. Sorry for the inconvenience. But what do you wanna do? Become a less attractive country in the future?
Yes. That is what Denmark is doing. As usual we're behind the curve (because Denmark unlike us actually has an open debate climate), but we'll get there in time.
 
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MacGuffin

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I still have the hope we can use the situation for our own advantage. The whole crisis can not be solved here anyway but only in the Middle East. As long as there isn't a solution there, the refugee problem won't go away. And I guess you know as well as I do, that in the near future nothing will change there.
 

AiR

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Sure, but the UN is blocking the solution to the core cause of the crisis, restoring order to Syria by force. Russia and China will veto any resolution to that effect. And I don't see western powers ignoring the UN (no matter how irrelevant the UN has become) anytime soon. Saudi Arabia (who intervened in Yemen) and the Arab league have made large-mouthed statements about doing something about Syria but actually not done anything themselves. Speaking of the gulf countries, they aren't helping.



Z-e-r-o.
 
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Matt2000

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It depends on how they are being treated. When they are welcomed by being put into prison camps or being left in the cold without food, water and minimum sanitation standards, then I understand they don't want to stay there. Would you?
That makes sense and I absolutely wouldn't want to stay in a place where I'm treated badly. AiR's post above kind of illustrates my point though.
 
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MacGuffin

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Sure, but the UN is blocking the solution to the core cause of the crisis, restoring order to Syria by force. Russia and China will veto any resolution to that effect. And I don't see western powers ignoring the UN (no matter how irrelevant the UN has become) anytime soon. Saudi Arabia (who intervened in Yemen) and the Arab league have made large-mouthed statements about doing something about Syria but actually not done anything themselves. Speaking of the gulf countries, they aren't helping.



Z-e-r-o.
"Restoring the order by force" is an illusion. It won't work. It has never worked. It has always only produced new and more problems. The IS and current refugee problem are - as you might remember - a direct result of America's ambition to get rid of Saddam Hussein and install democracy there. If it wasn't so sad, I'd laugh out loud when I think about it.

It didn't work in Iraq back when the Americans were there, it didn't work in Afghanistan or anywhere else. No matter how good the intentions might have been, every foreign military presence will eventually be considered an occupational force anyway. The West has absolutely no interest in interferring in a military way (which means sending troups) anyway. And Russia? I don't see them taking an active part in the fight either. Currently they are just trying to protect their strategic interest in the region. They're not going to fight the IS, the maximum they'll do is keeping it at bay.

Nope, regional problems have to be resolved regionally. In the case of the IS the only force able to stop it, would be if the Sunnites and the Shiites in the region united against it. Maybe you know of the heavy feud between Sunnite muslims and Shiite muslims (the muslim world is much more complex than most people want to know).

That feud would have to be overcome first in order to elminate the IS. Chances of happening? At the moment none. My prediction? The IS will occupy a certain amount of Syria and Iraq for a longer time. At some point they'll stop their conquering and we will have a stone-age fundamental regime there - until it either dissolves on its own or is driven away by moderate muslim forces. And we will get millions and millions of refugees from there in the meantime.

There is no way to prevent it and no Western intervention will be able to do anything about it. Not the UN, not the NATO, not the USA or the EU. That is the bitter reality. I have a distant hope, though, that the USA will recognize their part in creating this situation and allow a big chunk of the refugees into their country. I know it won't happen but hey, one can have hopes, or? ;)

And what about the Gulf states? Nobody knows for sure but it's a safe guess they're paying a lot of protection money to the IS in order to be left in peace. The last thing they want is giving up their luxury lifestyle, so they buy themselves out of the equation and weather it out. Also it's been reported that IS leaders every now and then enjoy the lifestyle in the Gulf states for recreational purposes. So they won't attack their "holiday resorts".

And Turkey? They have their very own agenda. Officially they're against the IS but inofficially they've been helping them because the IS fought the Kurds and for the Turks even more important than getting rid of the IS, is getting rid of the Kurds. So they're now using the conflict as a reason to attack the Kurds again.

Getting the Middle East to pull at one string, is like trying to herd cats.
 
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argatoga

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And Turkey? They have their very own agenda. Officially they're against the IS but inofficially they've been helping them because the IS fought the Kurds and for the Turks even more important than getting rid of the IS, is getting rid of the Kurds. So they're now using the conflict as a reason to attack the Kurds again.
That and Erdogan lost his super majority from the election of a Kurdish party. He might soon have an excuse to kick out Kurdish members of the National Assembly who are colluding with "terrorists".
 

MacGuffin

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might be relevant: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/3kos3j/iama_syrian_immigrant_in_germany_ama/

of course it's a very one-sided look at the situation from a single person, but at least it's something.
That's actually a very good contribution to the discussion. I especially like the thought of pulling manpower away from the IS by simply leaving the country. It's such a simple logic that probably nobody ever thought of it. That is what people should really think about, not that some IS sleepers might smuggle themselves into Europe in the disguise of a refugee.

Of course there are dangers of infiltration, muslim fundamentalist might try to get a hold on the new "fresh" fellow muslims. I guess it all depends on how the refugees are being welcomed, what chances they are being given and how they are being integrated here. There will always be some who fall through the sieve and end up radical but it's the same with Germans, French, British, Swedish or Norwegian people. There is no insurance against criminals, extremists and scoundrels, no matter what nationality or religion.
 

Jimi Hendrix

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So I say: Let them come. Integrate them, make them feel welcome.
It's not going to happen, it hasn't really happened with Turkish people after all this time, it's not going to happen with the people who are entering Germany now. They'll live in ghettos (even after/if they leave the containers where the refugees are placed), live off minijobs/subsidies and never feel integrated in the society.
 

argatoga

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That's actually a very good contribution to the discussion. I especially like the thought of pulling manpower away from the IS by simply leaving the country. It's such a simple logic that probably nobody ever thought of it. That is what people should really think about, not that some IS sleepers might smuggle themselves into Europe in the disguise of a refugee.

Of course there are dangers of infiltration, muslim fundamentalist might try to get a hold on the new "fresh" fellow muslims. I guess it all depends on how the refugees are being welcomed, what chances they are being given and how they are being integrated here. There will always be some who fall through the sieve and end up radical but it's the same with Germans, French, British, Swedish or Norwegian people. There is no insurance against criminals, extremists and scoundrels, no matter what nationality or religion.
I agree that terrorism isn't likely a threat here. I doubt there are ISIS agents operating among these refugees. They aren't Al Qaeda, they are a military force actively fighting to establish a nation. That's why we hear of people going to the Middle East to fight for them. ISIS needs people fighting against their enemies, more so than a terrorist attack thousands of miles away.
 
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