Tag Archives: EU

A Spectre is haunting Europe; but not the one you may think

The official end of the EU’s refugee relocation programme, begun in September 2015, came at midnight last night, 26 September 2017. Despite setting its own target – of 160,000 refugees to be moved from Greece, Italy and Turkey to other EU member states (106,000 in total from Italy and Greece: 66,400 from Greece; 39,600 from Italy) – and giving itself two years to meet the target, only 28,782 people have actually been moved from Italian … Continue reading

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The 10,000: the bitter result of our failure on refugees

It was sadly under-reported in UK media, but on 7 June 2016, the world reached an horrific milestone: 10,000 men, women and children have died in the Mediterranean sea since the start of the international refugee crisis. In short, we have succeeded in turning a shared holiday resort – used by Europeans, Africans and people from the Middle East alike – into a mass grave. The generally agreed date at which the international refugee crisis … Continue reading

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The Turkey Deal: Immorality, impossibility and the EU’s lowest moment

On Sunday (3 April) I was asked to take part in a debate on Al Jazeera about whether the ‘closing’ of routes used by refugees to cross from Turkey to Greek islands would lead to a greater number of people entering the EU from Libya. In the event, I couldn’t make it. I was in Liverpool to help launch a writers’ festival (Page to Stage) and the local BBC had no studios free for use … Continue reading

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March into madness – European chaos, and a tentative Syrian ceasefire

February 29 2016 was not the greatest day in European history. Fewer than two months into the new year, and just six months since the last time a European government’s police fired on unarmed men, women and children at its border, desperate people fleeing violence and terror had, once again, cast the world’s richest political bloc into political, legal and practical chaos. In its West, police fired teargas at refugees at the Jungle camp, near … Continue reading

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Solutions…? Refugees and governance in the face of crises

‘What we want is not just official development assistance in this form, but reform of global governance. World trade must be fair. There must be more investment in Africa. Official development assistance is good, but it’s not sufficient.’ Mahamadou Issoufou, President, Niger

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The State(s) We’re In

It has been a long time since I wrote for this site about Libya. The summer’s ongoing refugee crisis, as well as a series of media appearances to discuss and debate it, and a recent short visit to Greece, have combined to take priority from North Africa’s failing state.

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Too little: and how it can be better than too much

On Friday, the EU announced an agreement which had apparently taken ‘until the early hours’ to achieve: it would care for 60,000 people who had fled war, terror, poverty and unnecessary death. It’s hard to imagine how this could possibly have taken so long, for several reasons. First, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has asked that every state in the developed world should take 20,000 Syrian refugees (the UK has taken 187. … Continue reading

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Update: Crisis Management: Shutting the Door on the Mediterranean

On Tuesday, I posted a piece in which I described the EU’s response to more than 1,300 people drowning in the Mediterranean as being similar to it ‘emerging from a cave, clutching a half-brick’. At that point, there were still two days before the EU was to announce its final decision. My expectations were low, and today those expectations have been entirely vindicated.

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Crisis Management: Shutting the Door on the Mediterranean

What the world needed was a subtle, considered approach to a complex and emotionally fraught situation. What the EU has brought to the table instead is a sledgehammer and a net. In the last eight days, 1,300 people have drowned in the Mediterranean, a situation correctly described as ‘Europe’s Shame’ by newspapers across the globe.

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