UN blames European governments for migration crisis

UN Refugee agency says number of incoming migrant not main reason for migration crisis in Europe, but wrong government policies

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The UN Refugee agency (UNHCR) has reported that the main problem in Europe's migrant crisis is not the total number of the migrants, but how each country handles the arrivals.

The EU countries have been overwhelmed by immigrants fleeing from conditions of war and poverty in an attempt to find a better environment.

More than 224,000 migrants arrived in European countries in the first seven month of this year, making an increase on the 219,000 arrivals who arrived in the whole of last year.

Al Jazeera has reported that the UNHCR has said it is more than willing to cooperate in order to help resolve the issue.

"In our view, European countries need to work together rather than point fingers at each other. In order to deal with this situation, Europe should open more legal ways for refugees to come," senior spokesperson for the UNHCR, William Spindler, said.

"The UNHCR is urging European countries to provide more places for refugees through resettlement programmes, family reunification, humanitarian admission, private sponsorship schemes, and work and education visas," he added.

The migrant crisis seems to have worsened this year with many boats attempting to reach Europe reported to have sunk in the Mediterranean Sea, leading to many people losing their lives.

The United Nations noted the seriousness of the crisis after another incident took place on Wednesday in which 25 people died after a boat off the cost of Libya capsized with 600 migrants on board.

Greece is also struggling with relocating and providing for the migrants. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras commented on the matter, saying that Greece’s infrastructure is struggling to sustain the number of migrants arriving in the country from Syria and Afghanistan.

"Now is the time to see if the EU is the EU of solidarity or an EU that has everyone trying to protect their borders," he said.

"We have significant problems to face and that’s why we have asked help from EU," Tsipras added.

The UNHCR has told Greece to find a solution to the "total chaos" in the Mediterranean islands.

Tsipras will discuss the matter with Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou on Wednesday. Christodoulopoulou has admitted that Greece has not managed to deal with the crisis properly.

“At the moment, nongovernmental organizations and charities are covering the gaps left by the state,” she told local Mega TV channel. “Without them things would be worse.”

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has expressed sadness over migrant deaths and said that even more migrants will attempt to enter Europe.

"It is unacceptable that in the 21st century people fleeing from conflict, persecutions, misery and land degradation must endure such terrible experiences in their home countries, not to mention en route, and then die on Europe's doorstep," General William Lacy Swing, the Director of IOM, said.

The UK also continues to face migrant problems as refugees try to illegally enter the country through the channel tunnel from France.

A migrant man reportedly almost managed to reach the UK entrance to the tunnel by walking all the way through it before being arrested.

TRTWorld and agencies