As Europe’s migrant crisis continues to bite, analysts are coming forward to affirm that Europe can comfortably handle the surge in their refugees without a problem. Migrant experts have said Europe is well endowed beyond its own population’s capacity and that it can bear to maintain the influx in migrants.
Yet despite countries like Spain facing both decreasing and ageing populations, there seems to be considerable backlash in Europe to accepting migrants.
Human rights and migrants experts are now warning that the dramatic announcements of the surge in migrant population is being used to hide a clear fact, that Europe can comfortably accommodate the incoming refugees. According to the experts, though the numbers are growing, they are still not enough to crowd Europe’s capacity.
Ryan Schroeder, communications director at the International Organisation for Migrations Brussels, said, “From the images we see and a number of people we see it seems like the whole world is knocking on the door of Europe. Comparatively the European Union has the size, the population, the wealth and the resources to handle these increased flows. If Turkey and Lebanon are managing, one would think the EU as a whole can do that as well.”
According to statistics drawn from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, over 300,000 migrants travelled across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe this year. 200,000 have landed in Greece and 110,000 in Italy. From there, many have sought asylum in other more accommodative countries like Britain, Germany and Sweden. Comparatively, last year, 219,000 migrants came to Europe, the single largest displacement recorded since World War II.
To Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch executive director, the issue in question is politics, not capacity.
He said, “This ‘wave of people’ is more like a trickle when considered against the pool that must absorb it. The European Union’s population is roughly 500 million. The latest estimate of the numbers of people using irregular means to enter Europe this year via the Mediterranean or the Balkans is approximately 340,000. In other words, the influx this year is only 0.068 per cent of the EU’s population. Considering the EU’s wealth and advanced economy, it is hard to argue that Europe lacks the means to absorb these newcomers.”
He compared Europe’s influx to the U.S.’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, who account for 3.5 per cent of the country’s population, saying the “fear-mongering” was being used to dilute moral obligation.