Europe needs to come up with a more effective strategy in managing migration and tackling the root of the problem: the key message of a high-level conference organised by the European Parliament, that brought together high representatives of the EU and the United nations, as well as international experts and MEPs.
The numbers paint a thorny picture. Last year, 1.2 million asylum requests were filed, more than 5000 people were reported dead or missing trying to get to Europe. The magnitude of migration flows shows that a larger-scale response is needed. The current distribution system in the case of refugees has failed. It is greatly unfair to let a handful of small countries shoulder this responsibility. Solidarity is one of the founding principles of the EU. We have to act now. The current system is plainly broken. Procedures are too complex, too lengthy and applicants are not treated the same way in each Member State. Sharing the burden was a key message of this migration conference hosted by the European Parliament. Most recently, EU leaders adopted a decision to stem the flow of migrants along the Central Mediterranean route. A pool of European border and coast guards was created. Systematic checks at external borders were agreed late last year. But the crux of the matter is this: cutting the problem at the roots. We have to remove the causes that drive people to flee. This will entail very large-scale investment in Africa in economic and social development... In Africa, as well as in the Middle East. Migration is one of Europe's biggest challenges today, and could play a role in the 2019 EU Parliamentary elections.