Important progress was made at the donors’ conference for Syrian refugees convened in London on February 4. But much more remains to be done. The international community is still vastly underestimating what is needed to support refugees, both inside and outside the borders of the European Union.
The leaders of the US and the EU are making a grievous error in thinking that president Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a potential ally in the fight against Islamic State. The evidence contradicts them. Putin’s aim is to foster the EU’s disintegration, and the best way to do so is to flood Europe with Syrian refugees.
As Britain approaches a crucial vote on whether to leave or remain in the EU, there is no doubt about how far-reaching the consequences could be for future generations. While some may be reluctant to be drawn into the debate, I believe the stakes are simply too high to remain silent.
The European Union needs to accept responsibility for the lack of a common asylum policy, which has transformed this year’s growing influx of refugees from a manageable problem into yet another political crisis. Each member state has selfishly focused on its own interests, often acting against the interests of others.
Because of the structural defects of the euro, the European authorities have had to become masters of the art of muddling through one crisis after another. This practice is popularly known as kicking the can down the road although it would be more accurate to describe it as kicking the can uphill so that it keeps coming back.
Ukraine is struggling to negotiate a deal with its creditors, which the International Monetary Fund demands as a condition for further financial support. Russian aggression has taken a terrible toll on the economy of the new Ukraine, making its $19 billion in foreign debt unsustainable.
As many as 400,000 people will make dangerous journeys to reach Europe this year, about half of them fleeing the civil war in Syria or brutal government repression in Eritrea. By the time they reach the west, they will have had to risk their lives twice: once in fleeing their countries, and again in entering ours.
International cooperation is in decline both in the political and financial spheres. The UN has failed to address any of the major conflicts since the end of the cold war; the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference left a sour aftertaste; the World Trade Organization hasn’t concluded a major trade round since 1994.