International leaders have been meeting in Paris to craft policies that stop the human traffic. Pushing the border further south is not the answer on its own
Migration remains at the heart of Europe’s political and social crisis. Instability in Africa and elsewhere, wars, persecution, poverty, demographic trends and the ancient human urge to seek a better life in safer, more prosperous regions, all mean that this reality is not about to change. Two years after more than a million people made their way to Europe in the largest arrival of migrants from outside the continent in its history, European institutions and governments still struggle to find solutions. Even when sound policies are crafted, such as relocation sharing, to alleviate the pressure on “frontline” states, implementation lags far behind.
On Monday the leaders of several European and African states – the UK not among them – met in Paris to try to forge more unity on how to address both the humanitarian urgency and the root causes of migration. The talks centred on stemming migration flows closer to their source. This makes sense, but only if the rights of migrants who need urgent protection are respected. Europe’s strategies must not amount to pushing the problem further away from its shores, rather than trying to solve it.