European Union faces a wave of migrants

Countries of the European Union (EU) are facing an increasingly large wave of immigration, with the risk of a repeat refugee crisis, as seen in 2015, when millions of migrants poured into Europe to flee the conflict in Syria. Without coordinated action for prevention, the new wave of migrants will leave unpredictable consequences for the "old continent".

A group of more than 40 people who cast off from near Wimereux in France on November 24 to cross the English Channel into the UK. (Photo: Reuters)
A group of more than 40 people who cast off from near Wimereux in France on November 24 to cross the English Channel into the UK. (Photo: Reuters)

The recent tragedy of 27 migrants who drowned in the English Channel while trying to reach Britain from France is a powerful warning to Europe as the Channel has become a route for migrants fleeing poverty and conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq and many other countries to seek refuge in the UK. This tragedy also increased the dispute between Britain and France. Meanwhile, the situation on the Belarus-Poland border is also intensifying as thousands of refugees have been camping on the border in the hope of crossing into the EU.

The solution to the problems of migration in Europe is clearly not of any one particular country, but requires the coordination of all countries throughout the region. Britain and France agreed to accelerate joint efforts to prevent dangerous border crossings and stressed the importance of their close coordination with neighbouring countries including Belgium and the Netherlands as well as other partners around the continent. French President Emmanuel Macron vowed France would not allow the Channel to become a “cemetery” while calling for an emergency meeting of European ministers.

Meanwhile, migrants seem to have found a less dangerous overland route to replace the Central Mediterranean crossing, which runs from Belarus to Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. It has caused a terrible crisis in this region. In the face of a current wave of migrants at the border with Belarus, EU countries have been seeking measures to prevent the escalating crisis. President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that transport operators involved in smuggling or trafficking of people into the EU would be punished.

The migration crisis has thus ignited long-simmering confrontation between the EU and Belarus. EU has accused Minsk of allowing migrants into Belarus and cross the border into Poland and other EU member states in response to the EU's imposition of sanctions against Belarus. Meanwhile, the Belarusian side considered the accusation without foundation and said the West must be responsible for their intervention that caused people in so many countries to evacuate from the war.

In the context of no EU countries wanting to take on the burden of migrants and conflicts among member states on this issue, Europe faces the risk of a repeat of numerous migration tragedies, especially when winter is upon us.

Translated by NDO