Europe's Shame

I am temporarily departing from my usual finance & economics slant to write about something that I consider utterly shameful: the response of European countries, including my own, to the refugee crisis on their borders.

This photo was taken on the Macedonian border today:

Herbert Mayrhofr tweeted this with a comment, "This is not the Europe that I want to live in".

I wholeheartedly agree. What kind of society is it that will threaten toddlers with police batons?

Many argue that Europe cannot afford to accommodate the number of "migrants" currently streaming in. But the countries of the EU are by-and-large rich countries. They can always find resources for the things that are politically important. My own country found the resources to fight wars in Libya and Afghanistan - but apparently is now so poor that it must repel with razor wire and tear gas the refugees from the war zones it has created. What appallingly skewed priorities.

Others say that the volume of migrants is so large that it "threatens their way of life". They point to books like this in support of their argument. But this report from the Guardian gives  the lie to their scaremongering. The number of migrants that have arrived in the EU this year is 0.027% of the  EU population. Please don't tell me the EU can't accommodate this, and indeed far more than this.

Still others say that these are just "welfare tourists" who come to sponge off generous European benefits systems. This view is particularly prevalent in France and the UK. But there is absolutely no evidence to support it. Firstly, 60-70% of these people are refugees fleeing war zones. They endure extraordinary hardships in the hope of getting to a country where they can be safe. And secondly, even economic migrants are mainly young skilled people who expect to work for their living. Those who bring older people and children with them expect to work to support those dependents.

European rules say that refugees should apply for asylum in the first safe country they travel to. But the countries nearest the conflict zones - such as Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt - are already bursting at the seams. Greece is struggling with a major fiscal crisis. And Italy's economy is flatlining. Where is the financial support that these countries will need if they are to accommodate large numbers of refugees? There is none. It is hardly surprising therefore that they help migrants to move on to richer countries. For the richer countries to turn refugees away on the grounds that they should have applied for asylum in the poorer countries, while denying those poorer countries the resources needed to resettle refugees, is an utter disgrace.

There are in reality only two reasons why EU countries say they can't accept migrants. They have tied themselves in a fiscal noose which prevents them from releasing the resources needed to resettle migrants, and they have convinced themselves that migrants are someone else's problem. Neither explanation is remotely credible, and both show a shocking disregard for the human rights of migrants. I suppose we should be thankful that we are not now leaving migrants to drown "pour encourager les autres" - though many still are dying en route to Europe. But denying them the basic means to live is no better.

The UN High Commission for Human Rights has now weighed in. Its Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants has castigated the EU's inadequate response: "Let's not pretend Europe's reponse is working", he says. And he calls on the European Union to establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy which makes mobility its central asset, saying that this is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants. 

The Special Rapporteur emphasises the utter futility of harsh methods aimed at deterring migration:“Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe,” he says. And he criticises remarks from politicians and media, including the UK's Prime Minister David Cameron: 
“Talking about ‘flows’, ‘marauders’, and ‘swarms’ is an unsubtle way of dismissing the legitimacy of the asylum seekers and migrants’ claim to human rights, by creating images linking them to toxic waste or natural disasters. We are talking about men, women, children and even babies, who have faced traumatic experiences. These are people just like you and me, and none of us have the moral high ground to say that we would never do the same if we were in their shoes.”
In treating our fellow human beings with such inhumanity, we make ourselves less than human. I am ashamed of my country's leaders.

But the inhumanity shown to these refugees has its origin in the inhumanity displayed to citizens of European countries. Unemployment in the EU is over 10% despite low rates in countries such as Germany and the UK. Youth unemployment is more than double that. These migrants are predominantly young, skilled people, many with children. Accommodating them could go some way towards solving Europe's demographic problems - falling birth rates and a growing proportion of elderly. But because EU policies prioritise balancing government budgets ahead of ending the scourge of unemployment, European countries - with the notable exceptions of Germany and Sweden - dare not accept migrants for fear of making the unemployment problem worse. We are not only behaving inhumanely towards people both outside and inside the EU, we are squandering the human capital on which our future prosperity depends. This is utter insanity.

Let's stop this now. Relax the destructive fiscal tightness that is wrecking economies all over Europe. Prioritise full employment over budgetary discipline. And let the wellbeing of people - including those who come to our countries as refugees and migrants - become our primary concern.


  1. The money power created this crisis in a deliberate attempt to ever further enhance the grip of liberal materialism on the planet.

    The neo-conservative voices of a decade or go were quite clear in their objectives - Richard Pearle was my favourite at the time.

    As a liberal Brit you remain quite predicable.

    The Irish arrive in mass on Liverpool docks, you attempt to integrate a different and now broken culture with the resident population that eventually leads to its total collapse also...
    But you never truly question why this human convoy arrives.
    Oh dear seems to be the extent of your analysis.
    The objective is simple: the scouring of the shire

    Ps did you check european energy trends last year? Many countries are approaching mid 1960s levels of energy use with populations of much greater scale.
    In the case of the UK 10 million extra souls and rising.
    UK domestic energy use decline is especially shocking given the current atomic nature of habitation.
    The amount of effective energy now used to service real human (rather then corporate conduit Operations) is catastrophic.

  2. Thanks, Frances. Couldn't agree more!

    1. Glad to hear it, Radhika. I found that picture sickening.

    2. It is sickening; but that does not mean it is necessary or desirable for the EU (and particularly the densely populated UK) to accommodate these people. Paul Collier, in his masterly book 'Exodus', suggests large holding camps near war zones and failed states where migrants can have asylum applications processed and refugees can wait safely (and even work) until it is safe to return home.

    3. I'm afraid I fundamentally disagree, for several reasons.

      - The war in Syria has now been going for 5 years and there is no end in sight. How long would it be before these people could safely return home? And what makes you think that what they would return to could in any way be described as "home"? Their homes are flattened and their country is wrecked. Syria's GDP collapse in the last 5 years is twice that of Greece.

      - The countries nearby already have millions of refugees. There are far more refugees in Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon than there are anywhere in Europe. The ones coming to Europe are the better off who can afford the crossing.

      - Europe has ageing populations. These people are young and often highly skilled. We need them. This is a shocking waste of human capital. So is high unemployment in southern European countries, of course: but that is a crisis of our own making. It is not an excuse for failing to respond to a humanitarian crisis.

      - The UK is not the most densely populated place in Europe, and doesn't make it into the top 50 most densely populated places worldwide. Overpopulation is a nationalist myth.

    4. I agree that the UK and other countries should respond to these humanitarian crises, and generously: we differ on how to respond. So in response to your points:

      1. Sooner or later, the war in Syria will end; and there is a lot of ruin in a nation. Most genuine refugees want to return to their homeland, if they can. And if/when they can, they should be encouraged to do so.

      2. With significant investment from the West, those countries could take more Syrians. And when the war ceases, the West will have to help rebuild Syria, as will Syria's neighbours.

      3. I think you are over-estimating the skills base among Syrian migrants. In any event, importing young people is not the answer to an ageing population, because they in turn grow old and dependent and/or bring their old and dependent with them. (The answers to an ageing population include more automation, longer working lives, improvements in gerontological medicine...but that's a another matter altogether.)

      4. The UK is not the most densely populated country in Europe, but it is already very densely populated. Putting aside places like San Marino, Jersey and Malta, in Europe only Belgium and the Netherlands have a higher population density than the UK, making the UK the most densely populated major economy in Europe. And England alone is the most densely populated country in Europe - with a density nearly twice that of Germany and quadruple that of France. This is not a "nationalist myth".

      5. You focus on the perceived advantages that Syrian and other migrants might bring - eg skills and youth - but you forget the possible disadvantages - eg disease, terrorism, religious conflict, homophobia, misogyny, cultural change, increased demand for public services, congestion....and the increasing 'pull' factor that established immigrant communities exert on those remaining overseas.

    5. 1. Destroying the lives and prospects of entire generations by holding them in refugee camps is morally wrong.

      2. If the West can afford the investment in those countries to enable them to support refugees, it can afford to accept and assimilate the refugees.

      3. Importing young people absolutely is the solution to an ageing population. It reduces the dependency ratio. Also, the birth rate is higher among immigrants, which means that there will be a greater supply of young people in future. If the consequence of immigration is that the proportion of elderly in the population drops long-term, this is a net benefit to the economy.

      4. The UK is an integrated economy, so references to "England" are meaningless. There is no reason to "put aside" more densely populated places on grounds that they are smaller. The UK is a rich country, with low unemployment. It can afford to take refugees and it has the space to do so.

      5. The UK has been breeding terrorists and has a long history of religious conflict. It already has its fair share of homophobes and misogynists and is notably xenophobic. I for one would regard immigration as a good thing if it helped to shift dysfunctional cultural attitudes and entrenched racist xenophobia. Working immigrants of course contribute to the funding of public services, including transport networks.

      But all of this is irrelevant. The real issue is that there is a major humanitarian crisis in the Middle East to which you have no desire to respond in any way. You regard it as "someone else's problem". Let's hope you are never in need of help yourself. I for one would think twice before offering it.

    6. "to which you have no desire to respond in any way. You regard it as "someone else's problem". Let's hope you are never in need of help yourself."

      That is an appalling distortion of my expressed views. Please get a grip of your emotions - and your 'ad hominems'. I have every desire to respond to this terrible humanitarian disaster - just NOT in the ways you favour, Frances. Just because I do not follow your particular prescription does not mean I am a bad person!

      In response to your points:

      1. Assimilating anything other than a small number of migrants has huge extra costs. Overall, it is cheaper and more humane to follow Professor Collier's recommendations. (He is no right-winger, and a humane and thoughtful man - himself descended from immigrants. Please do read 'Exodus'.)

      2. With the immigrants we have got, the UK birth rate is above replacement level already and the UK population is projected to grow. So we simply don't need any more people --- particularly, since you mentioned skills, third-world people.

      3. "The UK is an integrated economy, so references to "England" are meaningless." Hardly "meaningless", given the extent of devolution. And the destination of the vast majority of immigrants is England - not the Highlands or Snowdonia. The fact is that the UK is the most densely populated country in the G7, apart from Japan. In practical terms, the UK is full.

      4. Yes, there have always been terrorists and religious conflict in the UK. The point is that increased immigration, leading to increased 'diversity', will most probably increase terrorism and religious conflict. And importing more adherents of the politico-religious belief system known as Islam will only increase the number of homophobes and misogynists in the UK electorate. Believe me, these immigrants will not become Guardian readers any time soon!

      5. In general, you seem to be working with the 'airport lounge' concept of a nation: whoever arrives is part of it. I go with the OED: 'a nation is a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory'. I want to preserve my nation and its fine culture, and I'm happy to welcome some immigrants (particularly from Commonwealth countries, with whom we have historical and cultural ties), but there must be limits. Moreover, Syria isn't the UK's problem, though we must play our part financially in helping those who suffer.

    7. I do not agree with you. Sorry.

      I will add Exodus to my (extensive) list of books that people have told me I must read.

    8. Frances: as an expert with 25 years of published research in the matter, I can assure you that you are correct. The comments made by some people here are just nonsense, personal opinions without a basis in either reality or scientific studies.

      As for Collier's book "Exodus", I do not recommend it. He has the distinction of bringing a competent mind to matters of which he knows rather little: the result is interesting, but mostly inappropriate. He would have benefited from reading at least some of the mainstream literature on the matter -- and preferably the more reliable expert studies (as opposed to generalised academic prognostications).

  3. The last time I checked we have a youth population which already exists that is either unemployed or working in jobs to access purchasing power rather then engage in the act of harvesting or production.

    In this industrial age wellbeing is in reality energy divided into real endure consumption.
    A well off family with no need to engage with the machine to access purchasing power can look after its old and sick themselves, there is no need for such labour.
    The current need for such labour is a artifical consequence of the banks extracting time and token units from its human farm animals.

  4. authors like this just gonna love us all to death

    how does the world provide the negative feed back to stop the pop juggernaut?

    no doubt, emergency aid is in order - esp. given the circumstances

  5. Congratulations. More of the same please.

    PS did you see an evening standard poll on reasons for people to leave France to come to Britain? Some "sensible " q's on whether migrants thought Britain had generous welfare benefits - nothing on whether Britain is ace and rational people would want to come here.

  6. Correction: wellbeing /wealth in the crude but effective manner of the industrial age can be understood as effective energy consumption divided into the population number.
    Unlike the 19th century we have falling energy intensity but the money powers policy is to rise the strata of child bearing 20 or 30 somethings.
    Outsourcing of production first in the UK and now Europe is failing......
    Why? Domestic energy consumption is crashing......
    The true costs of production is consumption.
    When looking at real human level consumption we can see the current system is failing using such sensible measurses.......

    The question is why do liberals keep pushing for civilization collapse using trendy irrational bleeding heart arguments which at their core are inherently anti humanist

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Core capitalist countries are now in the business of outsourcing reproduction......
    This is a truly incredible objective of the elite.

    Not only has production been outsourced to mercantile Asia and Europe but reproduction also.
    Sit down and absorb this for a while.
    Yet despite this offsetting of costs policy domestic consumption continues to decline......
    Something is rotten me thinks.

  9. What easy is from your comfortable home to imagine a wonderful world! It is not only a problem of money, or fiscality. It is a problem of a political guide, of how to manage so a big problem. There is no idea in Europe how to think about. You must recognize that US has open the way to theorize about, bat when migrants were a great contribution to the economy.
    Why we cannot make is open the doors for everybody, I think Europe as yet a big problem of past immigration that has not been able of adapting to democracy. Only in France at least 6 million of Muslims that will not to adopt occidental&democratic value. Islam terrorism is rising a lot in Europe day by day. The episode in the train of France is not anedoctical.
    So it is not so easy. Their are potential cultural shock. In Spain, the massive immigrants of LATAM in the 2000's have not originated any problem, quite the contrary. They have integrated perfectly. On the other hand, we cannot say the same of inmigrants of Muslim origin. Of which I believe you have some problems in UK, haven't you?
    Not all is economic.

    1. You don't know anything about my lifestyle.

      Problems caused by failure of past immigrants to integrate have nothing whatsoever to do with the humanitarian crisis caused by Europe's failure to respond remotely adequately to the refugees and economic migrants currently crossing its borders.

    2. People who live within Europe's borders presently are not part of any real political structure (it is not a functional democracy )
      I am sure the elite will impose further costs regardless of resident peoples interests which will prove my point but we have no equity /ownership of the decisions period
      We are currently living within states that have no functional borders , which means that political and economic dynamics are non functional making local and national self determination impossible - which is the ultimate objective.
      You are asking resident populations to pay for the costs of capitalistic concentration much like what happened to the British isles population especially in the 19th century.
      Indeed capitalistic concentration has been jazzed up by total war this past decade.
      I was one of those naive bunch that marched against the Iraq war.......and yet I a made to pay for it regardless.
      Why not let the capitalist elite pay for it - they started it.
      Let them live in their house.
      Of course that will never happen , first they will further populate the western slums
      The similarity to the Irish refugees is striking.
      I would contend this is the now not so hidden government policy.

    3. You really do spout a lot of utter drivel. This badly written pseudo-intellectual psychobabble contributes nothing meaningful to any debate, certainly not to this one about a refugee crisis.

    4. Badly written perhaps but I am afraid it's all true.
      The refugee crisis is being ochestrated by the money monopoly.
      It was core British /French policy to dismantle the Libyan state which functioned as a effective buffer state given its relative high standard of living
      prior to the chaos.
      So just to repeat some people within the inner state decided to turn the African med coast into a lawless place
      The question is why
      I reckon I have a plausible answer to this strange turn of events

    5. Badly written perhaps but I am afraid it's all true.
      The refugee crisis is being ochestrated by the money monopoly.
      It was core British /French policy to dismantle the Libyan state which functioned as a effective buffer state given its relative high standard of living
      prior to the chaos.
      So just to repeat some people within the inner state decided to turn the African med coast into a lawless place
      The question is why
      I reckon I have a plausible answer to this strange turn of events

  10. So our global economic problem is a lack of demand? It looks like there's plenty of demand, just not a will to marshal the resources to meet it.

    Trump would approve of Europe's response to this immigration crisis.

  11. Thank you Frances. These things have to be said. Greece in 1922-23 took in 1million refugees from Turkey. Now it cannot handle 100.000, who don't even want to stay there. We need to take these people in as explained here

  12. I bet you don't live in the sort of places these immigrants will all be congregating though....................and I really don't see why I have to pay taxes so a load of foreigners can come here and get free housing, free healthcare and free education for their kids, while people who have lived here all their lives are on waiting lists for a hip operation, their children can't get a council house, and their children are in school where 20 different languages are spoken.

    1. Actually I live in Kent, which is where the Calais migrants come to when they first enter the UK.

  13. Jim, that is not the immigrants fault. Lobby to end cuts and introduce land tax and build more social housing.
    If what Frances say is true and these immigrants are fairly skilled it will be helpful for them to enter the country. Even if not we can take care of them.
    Your taxes don't go to fund anything. A govt that issues its own currency always spends by creating money as it makes no sense to have an account full of your own IOUs you have infinity of.
    The govt will get all its money back in taxes if there is no saving in the spending chain. Tax rates do not function to bring in "more" revenue to spend.
    If you are in a eurozone country lobby to exit.
    Taxes are there to free up the real resources for govt to spend, along with banning things and cutting bank lending. But at the moment real resources are being wasted due to austerity.

  14. It’s blindingly obvious that Europe can accommodate a number of immigrants equal to 0.027% of its population (the figure given in the above article). It could easily accommodate fifty times that number.

    The problem is that if existing would be migrants are given easy access to the EU that just encourages even more, and more, and more. We’re dealing with a NEVER ENDING flow. The Muslim population of several European cities is already 20%.

    What the pro-immigration brigade are essentially saying is that they want Europe to be Africanised and Islamised. That being the case why don’t they go live in the Islamic part of Nigeria? Their dreams will come true there: they can enjoy political corruption big time, poverty, violence, the murder of authors and cartoonists who say the wrong thing, homophobia, having women treated like dirt – I could go on.

    Of course it’s possible that these migrants will fully adopt European culture, but I wouldn’t bet on it: about a third of French Muslims sympathised with the murder of the Charlie Hebdo staff.

    As for the idea in the above article that these immigrants are skilled (and presumably also responsible, honest, etc), how come their home countries are poor, corrupt and war-torn? Muslims and Africans are actually the LEAST skilled group of migrants.

    1. The right wing claims that you are making are in blatant denial of basic facts. First, the migration flows of the world -- and especially refugee flows -- are not obviously affected by policies to exclude them. Such policies are shown historically to have two principal effects: (a) diversion of migration routes and sometimes to nearby countries, but no clear reduction in total flows; and (b) an increase in the deaths and suffering of such migrants -- something totally inhumane when we are talking about refugees and families with children. Since the mid 1980s the EU (and the UK in particular) have tried to stop legitimate refugees from reaching our countries, with policy instruments like visa restrictions and criminal penalties for smuggling (even inadvertently) by airlines, commercial trucks etc. This was a cynical and deliberate policy to block refugee arrivals and cast all movements not pre-authorised by the state as "illegal migration" -- forcing refugees to arrive as spontaneous asylum-seekers crossing borders without permission.

      Secondly, the evidence is very clear that the Syrian refugees are predominantly educated and middle class people, who are able to work and offer a lot to wherever they reside. The proportion of Africans with university education is also high -- depending on their origins -- but often their educational profile is better than the average for most EU countries' native populations.

      Your anti-islamic ranting is all that we can expect from right wing commentators. People fleeing Islamic extremism are the people we should be supporting, yet you appear not to have a rational approach. Indeed, most of the problems of the MENA region are historically derived from a self-centred interference in the region by North America and Europe: it is time to accept responsibility for our selfish and greedy behaviour, and show some humanity for once. It is sadly missing -- not least with the current despiccable government of the UK.

  15. Frances' sentiments are noble, but as she herself points out the emergence of a more sympathetic attitude in Europe depends on a much better economic performance, with will not happen for some time to come. For example, the vast majority of people here in Finland are simply not prepared to raise questions about the euro or its rules. The logic then is simple and cast-iron - economic growth is unavailable without years of painful adjustment and rising mass unemployment, which simply does not sit well with large-scale immigration. Frances got it just right - the rule-bound single currency goes hand-in-hand with a hard and heartless attitude toward the citizens of Europe. In such a scenario, and in times of savage austerity, who would bank on immigrants gaining much sympathy?

  16. The objective was and never will be economic growth.
    The objective is concentration.
    Economic growth made the pill go down easier causing a erosion economic redundancy and personal independence.

    We can see this very clearly today
    Real economic growth (energy density) is declining in Europe today but the capitalist elite ( not the people dependent on capital which are a quite different bunch) are desperate to increase concentration despite the entropy.
    This correct real world observation explains all.

  17. At this time the current CFR EU and UN policy is to eliminate growth in Europe.
    The industrial sabotage policies of the EU energy programme is enough evidence for this.
    The objective is to drive up the costs of living using multi dimensional tactics.
    One of these is to outsource population growth and reproduction as births tanked in western Europe beginning proper after the inflationary period of the 70s making it impossible to afford children.
    As these children who now should be adults no longer exist in the quantity desirable for capitalists they must now be shipped in.
    You see what these guys have done ?
    They have commodified the family unit perfectly .
    The people fleeing villages for Europe presently will in a few generations be perfect materialistic drones and worker units.
    This capitalistic cycle keeps repeating but works at greater and greater scales.

    Allowing these people inside your jurisdiction (let's not call them nations shall we) will merely play into these evil men's objectives.

    1. Europe has lost a quarter of its nat gas consumption since 2010.
      It cannot remain a growing Industrial area without embracing Victorian squalor (which seems to be the plan).
      Its impossible to raise the mean living standards using standard capitalistic tactics of concentration.
      There is however enough resources in Europe to sustain a distributive programme , this will in reality reduce the pressure of the global population to supply the satanic mills with resources and labour as most of the energy used presently is lost in transformation and transmission creating global shortages.
      We must understand that current global problems is a direct result of the expanding of the EU scarcity engine much like how the growing UK union destroyed its periphery and colonies over many centuries.
      You kill the EU and its capital export /import dynamics will suffer a major blow helping people to move back or stay in their village.

  18. UK coal consumption dropped by -21.5% last year, yes folks in one year
    From 37.1mtoe to 29.mtoe, indeed it seemed to mirror Ukraines war time austerity drop of -20.2% in 2014 ( Ukraine has similar consumption Levels)
    You could make the argument that the transformation losses in creating electricity are wasteful but why is not cheap coal returning to the home heating market? Why it's of course EU and financial oligarchy policy to sustain high prices and so called green laws so as to sustain high prices for basic goods......this is a wartime blockade like event......and you are asking countries to absorb yet more wage roboten!!!!!!!!!

  19. Murphy’s understanding on how public sector projects work is pretty naïve.

    This is an exchange I had with him over the past couple of days on ‘shovel ready projects’. He seems to think public sector projects can commence immediately.

    He says they’re going for home insulation projects.

    He first points out to the ‘success’ of the Australian home insulation projects as inspiration.

    When I point out we use the Australian experience as a warning (100+ house fires, deaths, allegations of corruption, a former pop star minister demoted by his PM), he says HE learns from mistakes and we don’t!

    When I point out there have already been home insulation schemes, he says ‘nonsense’ and I’m banned.

    The man is quite mad.

  20. Thank you Frances. I fully agree. It sad to watch the downright racist sentiment in Europe right now.

    1. Opposing open borders does not make you racist.

    2. Opposing open borders does not make you racist.

    3. Denying entry to refugees on the grounds that they are Muslim does.

    4. Interesting discussion, but Muslim isn't a race anymore than Catholic is. I've seen a couple of Europeans pushing this equivalency, but find it baffling. Here (Michigan) one meets Muslims of various races and countries of origin; it would be considered insulting to treat them as a race in and of themselves.

  21. A interesting book about the role of reproduction in the proto capitalist world is Silvia Federicis Caliban and the Witch

    Now I disagree with Federici on many levels but it shows how Feminists /Marxists are now integrating distribution memes into the previously materialist world view of marxists.

    The girl is of course a super capitalist as she wants to introduce wages inside the family unit rather then a commons dividend but at least it's some sort of progression.
    For some reason she cannot see the irony of her position.

    The current outsourcing of reproduction is of course a core capitalist policy today.

    To call people racists when all they want to do is protect the home hearth and village from capitalist scouring of the shire programmes is beyond a joke.
    In the past the ancient and medival village did not put a price on everything.
    The Capitalist elite have control of almost everything but yet want more.
    They want that last sacred Hawthorn tree to be felled
    To destroy even the memory of the faries.

  22. Europe should certainly help people who fleeing the war and not just Europe - there are many people to accommodate and there will be more. I hope all countries in the world who have resources should help. Latin America was great in helping refugees duding WWII, could it help this time? And this time richer Asian countries should chip in - China, Saudi Arabia, Emirates, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Malasia, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia. Some of these countries have a lot of infrastructure for muslim refugees that Europe and Latin America lack. No person who's very life is endangered should be left without help. The world is large and rich. This is a real challenge for UN, not just for EC - time to mobilize the whole world. Sitting, doing nothing and just telling Europe to help is a shame for UM!

  23. "The migrants in Calais are mostly young men of non-European origin, made up of a mix of refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants from Darfur, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Eritrea and other troubled areas of the world. There are also some women and children. The mix of nationalities has changed over time with Afghans being the largest group initially but by 2014 more people seen from the Horn of Africa and Sudan.[8] They mostly seek to enter the British labour market to work illegally rather than claim asylum in France,[2][3] though the number claiming asylum has risen since the procedures were revised in 2014.[1]
    Many of the migrants have paid people smugglers to get them to Calais.[2] One migrant from Egypt, a politics graduate, told The Guardian that he "paid $3,000 to leave Egypt, risked my life on a boat to Italy spending days at sea" and that in one month he had tried 20 times to reach England. Another, an Eritrean woman with a one-year-old child, had paid €2,500, and her husband the same, to sail to Italy but her husband had drowned during the journey.[1] Migrants also risk their lives when they try to climb aboard or travel on lorries, sometimes falling off and breaking bones or dying in accidents or en route. "

  24. One factual error I just noticed, Frances -- and it derives largely from the disinformation and propaganda that the intolerant and xenophobic Right are disseminating. This is that there is no international rule on applying for humanitarian protection in the first "safe country" that is reached. This nonsense is something invented by EU countries, in order to try to reject genuine asylum applications. Most national courts will not tolerate it, but some low-level committees and tribunals under the control of politicians may do so. This thinking is also present in the original Dublin Convention of 1990 -- which has been partially suspended by court decisions (including the CJEU) -- and at last has been suspended by the German government in the case of Syrians. The UK, Netherlands and most of Eastern Europe continue to deny humanitarian principles and the intent of the 1951 Convention.

    For a useful explanation of the UN Convention, you can read this piece by Goodwin-Gill

  25. Frances Coppola said:

    "But the inhumanity shown to these refugees has its origin in the inhumanity displayed to citizens of European countries. Unemployment in the EU is over 10% despite low rates in countries such as Germany and the UK. Youth unemployment is more than double that. These migrants are predominantly young, skilled people, many with children. "

    European unemployment will not be solved by importing workers.

    It is no moral high ground to call for the exploitation of refugees for nakedly political and claimed economic ends and dress it up as humanitarian action.

    1. Amazing how with careful selection of quotes you can make it look as if I said something that I did not. The paragraph from which you quote continues thus:

      "Accommodating them could go some way towards solving Europe's demographic problems - falling birth rates and a growing proportion of elderly. But because EU policies prioritise balancing government budgets ahead of ending the scourge of unemployment, European countries - with the notable exceptions of Germany and Sweden - dare not accept migrants for fear of making the unemployment problem worse. We are not only behaving inhumanely towards people both outside and inside the EU, we are squandering the human capital on which our future prosperity depends. This is utter insanity."

      In other words, importing workers will make unemployment worse in those countries that already have elevated unemployment and poor economic growth.

      A moral response would acknowledge that the inadequate response of many countries (not just in the EU) stems from existing domestic economic problems, and do something to relieve not only the desperate plight of refugees but also high unemployment, economic depression and poverty among residents of those countries.


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