LAST month members of the European Union met to decide on measures to address the influx of refugees which has become a humanitarian disaster beyond all proportions. From the Middle-East and Africa, refugees daily threaten the borders of Europe from as far north as Norway to Italy in the south.
Driven in the main by issues of political instability – war, torture, religious discrimination, genocide – over 500,000 people had crossed the Mediterranean by October 2015 to seek asylum. In 2014, Medecins Sans Frontieres estimated that 3419 asylum seekers perished at sea, 90,000 were rescued and some 207,000 reached Europe.
Now the European Union has agreed to a 17-point plan to deal with the crisis. Among measures to be used will be a quota system, registration methods and processing centres.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told leaders that Europe must stand as an example to the world.
“Europe must show it is a continent of values, a continent of solidarity,” Merkel said. “This is a building block but we need to take many further steps.”
These are fine sentiments but they will ring hollow in the Pacific which may soon face a refugee crisis of its own.