Arrested refugees - Fylakio Detetntion Center, Thrace, Evros, Greece.The idea of granting asylum to people fleeing war or persecution is not a new one in Europe. A long list of famous Europeans have sought safety in countries not their own; from Aristotle and Dante, to Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Freddie Mercury (who, as a young man, fled to the UK from conflict in his birthplace of Zanzibar).

During the 17th Century, French Protestants seeking asylum in England may have bumped into English Catholics coming the other way. In the 20th Century, over a million Belgians fled the fighting in the First World War to seek asylum in the Netherlands, France and the UK. Not long after, Europe would experience a severe refugee crisis in the wake of the Second World War, with millions of people displaced from their homes. Eventually, a UN convention on refugees was signed, and this became the basis of the current international legal framework governing the status of asylum seekers and refugees (a “refugee”, according to the 1951 convention, is an asylum seeker who has been successful in his or her application for asylum).

Today, the number of displaced persons in the world (including refugees, asylum seekers and Internally Displaced Persons) has reached a 19-year high of an estimated 45 million people, with the vast majority (80%) being hosted in developing countries. More than half of all refugees worldwide (55%) came from just five countries: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan.

In Europe, requests for asylum are not evenly distributed and the majority of asylum seekers enter the EU through Southern and Eastern Europe. Under the current rules, the responsibility for dealing with an application usually falls on the country where the asylum seeker first entered the EU, so if that person subsequently moves on to other countries they will be transferred back to the country of arrival. Critics argue this puts disproportionate pressure on those countries along the borders of the EU, whose asylum systems often struggle under the burden.

Back in June, the European Parliament voted in favour of new rules laying down common procedures and deadlines for handling asylum applications. These rules set out minimum conditions for detention facilities during the application process, and will end the transfer of asylum seekers to countries unable to cope. Controversially, the new rules also give police access to the biometric data of all asylum applicants, which critics argue amounts to the criminalisation of people fleeing persecution.

Just before the vote, we interviewed Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, and asked her to respond to a video question about whether EU asylum rules were ready for the challenges of globalisation:

We also asked for a reaction from Juan Fernando López Aguilar, an MEP with the  Social Democrats group in the European Parliament, and Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs:

IMAGE CREDITS: Creative Commons License 3.0 Share-Alike – Ggia

Vote 2014

Voting is closed in our Debating Europe Vote 2014! The results are now in, so come and see what our readers thought!


87 comments Post a commentComment

What do YOU think? Should asylum seekers be routinely transferred to the country where they first arrived inside the EU, or does that put disproportionate pressure on those countries along the EU's borders? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we'll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

  1. Nuno Roberto

    Central Europe and the UK dont even tolerate EU migrants well!! How can we expect them to treat refugees?

  2. Nuno Roberto

    Europe has turned into a xenophobic and selfish place. Something has to be done in order to reverse this tendence.

    • Marcel

      Fine, you take 5 Iraqis in your house then. Bet you’re not willing to do that. Bet you’re a NIMBY.

      We don’t want anymore of them. At least we’re honest about it.

    • hadeer

      some iraqi people flee from iraq because they peaceful persons and hate war and not want their children be killed and some iraqies are good educated better than of most europian people but war destroy their country , i wish you just walk in iraq streets to see what is happening and some iraqi humans are not barberian

    • smartness

      A nations first responsibility is to it’s own citizens, but all our leaders think of is other nation’s citizens and this has been going on for 60 years. It’s quite obvious why far right parties are gaining ground, because leadership have ignored the indigenous Europeans who they claim to represent for 60 years.

  3. Reno Zed

    Dunno about Central Europe but in the UK EU citizens are treated exactly like British.

  4. Katerina Kyriazi

    currently Greece has above 10% and as high as 20% of the general population as illegal immigrants from Africa, Asia etc. Those numbers are clearly NOT sustainable in a bankrupt country as Greece or anywhere else for that matter. Immigration reform needs to take place ASAP.

    • Alan Attard (Malta)

      Where did you get these stats from?

    • Alan Attard (Malta)

      Stats I saw indicate that there are 500,000 illegal immigrants which amounts to 5% of greece’s population!

    • Artemis

      Yes, and they all want to leave, as soon as possible, so whats your problem? Also many greek people now leave for Europe, so whom you will have to do the jobs greeks doesn’t like to do, like work in the fields? Who will pay your pension in the future? Greeks where so proud about being so nice to strangers, but, for the last 28 years that I have spent in that country I didn’t see so much “greek hospitality”. How can you expect for yourself to be free to go to other countries, like Germany, USA, etc, that where in the past and now countries who gave the greek people in need jobs, without allowing also someone else to come and live in your country?

    • joo_gonalves10999

      By “we” you mean Cypriots or Europeans? Germans are doing just fine from your (and my) point of view, yet the advocates of austerity for Southern Europe there use similar arguments in internal politics to fight larger “bailouts” (aka loans) with smaller interest rates to our countries.
      Solidarity is either given or not, it means to share what you have, independent if is much or not. The question is not whether Europe should take in more or less refugees, is whether this matter should be treated centrally by the EU or be the responsibility of individual member states.
      Europe has been a beacon of human rights and we should honor that legacy.

  5. Alin Roman

    What is shocking is that the EU is prone to restricting its Eastern inhabitants rather than take action to control the great number of outsiders seeking their fortune in the Union under the pretext of persecution and hardship. You should see the EU’s Eastern border, my friends. It’s still trapped in the cold war, a lot of contraband cargo is still slipping through it, not to say the criminal activity that takes place there. That area knows hardship, and while it’s not the EU’s full responsibility to contain and resolve this situation, it’s still something that can take a turn to the worse in time. Yet the EU is preoccupied of keeping a facade of altruism and hospitality, while in the meantime forgetting to check its own back yard. And the ridiculous part is that it offers asylum to a mass of unskilled pseudo-refugees, and watch them thrive, develop increasingly larger families out of welfare. We all need to be tolerant and to keep a positive attitude about our fellow men, but don’t let it be forced down your throat. And think about it, are you ok with this? I think deep inside, nobody truly is…

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      Many EU migrants do well in the UK and are appreciated by the UK on the whole.

      BUT, I as a UK citizen would much rather prefer that migration is not limited to the small pool of the EU BUT the large pool of the RoW.

      At the moment the EU immigration policy is a mono-RACIST one – we in the UK [with BY FAR the greatest black and white inter-marriage rates in Europe] would rather have a multi-race immigration policy where we in the UK could choose the best candidates for entry into the UK and not just the flotsam and jetsam pertaining to certain parts of the EU.

  6. Paul X

    So is the suggestion that the Southern and Eastern countries of Europe can just “wave through” asylum seekers and let them find their way to the more affluent and generous northern European countries where the majority of them would prefer to be?
    It’s their borders it’s their responsibility. With all the removal of internal borders within the EU there must be thousands of experienced border control personnel who were made redundant who can now be employed on the Southern and Eastern European borders? The fact is immigrants have to be stopped and processed where they enter the EU, once they manage to get into Europe the lack of internal control means they can just melt away and never be found again

    • Michael

      Except that they are forced to stay there. “Stopped and processed” is essentially the same as a jail taking responsibility for new inmates, except that they cannot leave, ever, and are a burden on everyone without giving anything back. More so, Southern borders seem to be in financial duress… perhaps this is not a coincidence? We are being flooded by African criminals [for by the very nature of their entry, they are criminals], and by “our responsibility”, the EU and Ms Malmstrom in her non-existent wisdom means that once they are in our waters, they are SAFE, and we are OBLIGED to take them in. We do not want them, they do not want to integrate, they just want to re-enact their old country in ours.

      Screw them.

  7. Christos Mouzeviris

    Of course they should, what a question!! The majority of the refugees do not want ideally to stay in Malta Greece or Italy and Spain, but to move eventually to Germany Belgium Holland Sweden Austria France and the UK.. It is a Europe wide problem and it should be dealt on a European level . Meaning all countries must participate in its solution either it is to accomodate or deport the refugees.. Leaving the bordering states to do all the work and deal with the problem, plus criticize them for any failures or “breaches” of the human rights of these people is simply unethical practice coming from the rich countries…

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      YES QUITE RIGHT! The Northern European nations should stop allowing refugees from Club Med into Northern Europe.

      Any, refugees that get to the Club med countries can stay there WITH calculated and accountable EU support.

      Over time, the good peoples of Africa, India, China, South America etc would ultimately raise the anti-corruption psyche of ALL Club Med types.

  8. catherine benning

    When you allow asylum seekers into Europe you are immigrating far more than the look of the handsome guy in the picture you put up. What you are importing is cultural change that is so far removed from what Europeans understand as an acceptable lifestyle it creates massive unrest. And if it continues at anything like the rate it has been we will have lost what we regard as a European lifestyle altogether.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7t5ZffkA0A&list=PL-jf543DSIH_0krX2j-Jh3Nb2mD4KzJd8

    Is this what you really want for the people of Europe? A mass degeneration of its ‘ideals.?’

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      What do you suggest as a possible solution please?

    • Alin Roman

      You made a really persuasive argument. Even though the truth is cruel, pro-immigration Europeans should finally face it : the immigrants ARE a problem!
      Your comment made my day. I really wish more people could see things in the manner you do.

    • Andrew Kaci Hili

      Very well said Catherine. Most Europeans do not want to change their ways of living, their culture, their ideals…especially to something totally inferior to what we enjoy.

      So definitely a very big NO to any illegal immigrants….they should all be sent back to their countries and not allow them to infiltrate ours!

  9. Kim

    Putting the Swedish in charge immigration, well that is a good idea. They will make Europeans a minority in an ever faster pace, much like Sweden itself. When Cecilia Malmström says modern, she means more liberal.

    Here is a crazy idea, how about helping our own. There is no lack of problems in Europe today and the asylum seekers only add to those problems. City after city Europeans becomes a minority; it’s time to say no.

    • Paul

      First: many of these refuggees come from wars that WE started (e.g. Afghanistan, Iraq).

      Seco nd: what about the many, many, many times that Europeans have BEEN refugees or immigrants, and others helped us? The Irish and Italians who migrated to the New World to find jobs? Or the waves of French refugees who fled the various wars, revolutions and persecutions they have suffered? And, for that matter, what about the English, Welsh and Scots who set up shop all over the planet?

      Hypocrisy.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Kim
      I think what you really wanted to say was..

      “City after city WHITES become a minority..”?

      I for one sincerely hope that you do did not want to say the above as that would classify you as a RACIST!!

  10. Cristian Negrea

    World increasingly multiply more and no practical solutions to stop immigration. Is a matter of survival…

  11. alexandru_amoq

    I suppose it is necessary to implement, at last, the European Citizenship. And, also, I suggest to give all the POWER to the PARLIAMENT (of the E.U.). The Prim-Minister will be elect by the members of Parliament. It is necessary to abolish the European COMISSION because it is not elect! It is necessary, also, the second chamber: the Senate. I believe it could be better that the chamber of the Representatives to be elect for 3 years-old (not 5!) and the members of the Senate for 6 year-old. I do not like the idea of “PRESIDENT”. You remembered the error of the European Comission, last summer, with the tyran of Traian BASESCU who is not representative for Romania. All the best wishes, Alex AMOQ.

    • Marcel

      No matter how many elections there are, the EU is not democratic. Period. There is no European demos so therefore there CANNOT BE European democracy.

      The EU should be dissolved and powers returned to the countries themselves. And eastern and southern Europeans evicted so our own nationals can have the jobs rather than be undercut.

    • joo_gonalves10999

      Marcel,
      You mean that your own nationals lose their jobs to uneducated far-from-home eastern and southern Europeans? That sounds weird… Do your companies positively discriminate these people?

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      I am sorry to say this old chap but no-one steeped in democracy would ever see the EU as a shining beacon of same!

  12. messadi

    Of course they should, what a question!! The majority of the refugees do not want ideally to stay in Malta Greece or Italy and Spain, but to move eventually to Germany Belgium Holland Sweden Austria France and the UK.. It is a Europe wide problem and it should be dealt on a European level . Meaning all countries must participate in its solution either it is to accomodate or deport the refugees.. Leaving the bordering states to do all the work and deal with the problem, plus criticize them for any failures or “breaches” of the human rights of these people is simply unethical practice coming from the rich countries…

    • Kenneth borg

      Marcel, yes locals are losing jobs to illegal imigrants, one example is the construction industry where they are hiring imigrants and paying them very very cheap labour at the detriment to locals…..its all about money and employers want the cheapest labour available. Is it still weird or can you understand now! Ken from malta

  13. joo_gonalves10999

    Even though there are problems regarding evaluating asylum requests, I find it sad that a question regarding asylum triggered so many anti-immigration comments.
    Given free circulation of citizens and common labour market, both asylum and immigration policies should be tackled at an European level, at least regarding harmonization and burden sharing rules for member countries. Moreover, defining *integration* policies and support is of up-most importance.

  14. Natasa Jevtovic

    We have an aging population and need more immigrants. They bring economic growth and create wealth. We should consider ourselves lucky because we’re still attracting them.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      The Northern EU nations should only allow the Club Med immigrants ‘in’ on a 5 year residency visa.

      During that period they would pay 2% extra tax. If after 5 years they’ve managed to create a business supporting at least 5 people and without having committed a crime and without having got married and without having burdened the health system then they can stay otherwise they can go.

    • Paul X

      “They bring economic growth and create wealth”
      That made me chuckle…you really must visit planet earth one day…….
      If every immigrant was a well educated hard working professional person then maybe
      Unfortunately most are poorly educated and those that do work get employed in very low paid jobs which are either cash in hand or below the threshold to pay tax
      yet they still get ill and use local doctors and hospitals and other services that full taxpayers pay for
      Have a Google for Boston in England, a town with 65000 population of which 9000 are immigrants yet not one new hospital or school or other essential facility has been built. If immigrints bring in so much wealth then Boston would be one of the richest town in the UK would it not?

    • Edgaras Katinas

      How do they bring economic growth and wealth when they are unable to work and integrate in an accepting country? Personally, living in the UK, I see that there are more and more people coming to the UK without any knowledge of English. How can they work? Some small part of them does low-skilled jobs PLUS they do some illegal work (no taxes paid). The bigger part simply enjoys social benefits, better healthcare system etc… I mean, people coming to a different state should integrate, and the first sign of integration is not some low-skilled job, or the ability to receive social benefits, but the language! That’s why I truly support the idea that every single government should implement language/culture tests to a new-comer in order to make sure that he/she has a slight clue where he/she is. Immigrants need to be pushed – I still cannot understand how come people willing to get social benefits, healthcare, job seekers allowance etc, get FREE interpreters to fill out the forms and communicate with the consultants? This is unbelievable as they have no urge to try and learn the language!
      The same applies to Scandinavia, where people go just to get money or better life without putting much effort into assimilation into the society.
      This does NOT create wealth for the state, this just temporally creates wealth for new-comers, as they fled from worse to better, but for how long?

  15. Limbidis Adrian

    The hypocrisy of UK’s ‘handling’ of immigration is so anti-Eastern Europe and pro-out of EU….meanwhile they complain about “immigrants who don’t integrate”.
    The irony is palpable.

    The EU should allow full travel between EU states – and that’s it.
    As callous as that sounds we CANNOT take care of every refugee in the world. We should stop and think how to stop creating more refugees.

    Is Debating Europe going to do a debate on this issue?
    “Should the EU support the US interventions ?”

    I bet many of Europeans would gladly save their tax money and abstain from poorly thought out wars than have to pay for wars AND deal with refugees.

    • catherine benning

      The reason they use the eastern EU is fear of being called racist. And, those who come to the UK from outside the EU are 75% of the total. But, they don’t tell the UK citizens this. They pretend, on a daily basis, that the majority of our immigrants are from inside Europe.

      The other reason they like those from outside the EU is because they have no idea regarding minimum wage, labour laws and will work all the hours god almighty sends. In the majority of cases on less than the minimum wage. It is slave labour and the people of the UK are finding it hard to survive with this kind of competition.

      Last night on our television they showed the state our housing stock is in from the influx of immigrants. Unbelievable. Only even that documentary was full of politically correct lies. They tried to pretend housing shortage was down to Brits, not mass immigration, all lining up for cheap housing.

      Take a look.

      http://www.channel4.com/programmes/how-to-get-a-council-house/4od

      And a write up in the press. Note how they cover the underlying problem. That old elephant in the room we are supposed to be unable to see.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/tv-and-radio-reviews/10217460/How-to-Get-a-Council-House-episode-one-Channel-4-review.html

      And here we see they want to get more to come into Europe. Now has anyone thought about why they want this? What is it they really seek? Care to take a guess. Could it be they despise European cultures to such an extent they want to stomp all over it and turn us all into work slaves? What other reason could there be?

  16. Bastian

    +Never before have so many people lived in Europe as in our times
    + Never before have so many people in Europe been unemployed
    + There is need for more training and education of people already here but not for immigration
    + If there is a sectorial need for manpower of rare qualification, it could be very selectively recruited from countries of similar culture and standards of education
    +The last time Europe received true asylum seekers that was during the Cold War and the Yugoslave crisis. Today “asylum seekers” are brought to Europe from distant countries, often with the help of criminal networks. Besides, most of them are not escaping life threats but they want to benefit from our work and social system.
    + These fake asylum seekers should be returned to country of origin immediately, where they could apply at European embassys for a work permit, if they still want.
    + True asylum seekers should be received in neighbouring countries with a similar culture. The best place, for example, for Afghan asylum seekers would be another Muslim countrs (e.g. Turkey or Saudi Arabia), for refugees from Somalia or Nigeria an appropriate country would be South Africa)
    +If there is theoretically no objective reason currently for asylum in the EU, why then is the EU fostering rules which stimulate a continuous “production” of real and fake asylum seekers for Europe? And this with no legitimacy in any of the meber states?
    + The main reason is a political game in which xenophil and xenophobic feelings and interests in our societies are served and manipulated for the purpose of rule. This is an old game of empires, much less so in democratic nation states.
    +The more the EU is evolving as an empire (or part of the US empire) the more we will observe the creation of such deviding political games in our societies (e.g. the old generations agains the young, male against female, domestic people against foreigners, gay against straight, and so on)
    + The more the post 1992 EU regime is showing its real contours, the more people will recognize that this type of EU is not for solving but creating problems in Europe

  17. Kim Jacobsen

    Read a god damn book, it’s an outright lie that immigrants bring economic growth. In most cases they end up taking more from the state then they contribute. Well the ones who comes from outside Europe at least. And yes I am more than happy to provide the numbers.

    And by making ourselves dependent on cheap labor from outside Europe with our low birth rates one would just create a system where when would constantly need more immigrants.

  18. Christos Mouzeviris

    Immigrants bring economic growth by working and being exploited..Obviously none of you has immigrant friends…I have many here in Ireland, of non -EU ethnic back ground..You know what it is to have to pay each year 1,000-3,000 € just to stay in the country, plus work overtime unpaid work, just because you have no rights as a worker, rights that we as EU citizens so much take for granted.. Plus if you want to stay you got to keep working or studying and thus paying another 3,000 € per year for a college that you do not need..You have to pay higher taxes that the natives and all EU citizens, plus you only may do jobs that the natives won’t take with any salary offered just to stay in the country… Jobs that you would like to do, are not available for you because of your visa restrictions…In other words, most of the money you earn for your low paid job, goes back into the economy, either by paying for your visa, college, rent and higher taxes… Get some opinion from immigrants and then you vomit your bile!!

    • Paul X

      Who’s “vomiting bile”? We are telling the truth, I’m not sure what type of immigrants you are talking about but you must have a special breed in Ireland?

      Immigrants who pay for college? pay taxes? Get real, as explained already most are below the tax threshold or get paid cash. Pay rent? well maybe to the gang master who charges them for the caravan on the farm they work on.
      Face facts, the majority of immigrants only just get enough money to survive on and contribute very little to the economy apart from buying up all the reduced stock from Tesco’s…… yet they still use all the essential facilities that full taxpayers pay for, that’s called a drain on society not a contribution

  19. Christos Mouzeviris

    Back to the point now.. Refugees pose a problem because they are not allowed to work and they contribute nothing while they would love to… But unfortunately Europe can not take all of them in.. We need to create a common immigration policy to attract immigrants from countries and with skills that we need and are useful to us. As for the refugees and illegal immigrants, perhaps we should stop invading their countries or meddling with their affairs and so we won’t have to receive them.. Most of them coming into Europe from Greece are coming from Iraq and Afghanistan.. You can see where the link to Europe comes from..

  20. Indra

    We all are in the same surface with same behaviour so its mire important to respect each other in every aspect of living . Every creature has the right to explore this global village depending upon their ability but human has more barriers which brings unequality resulting rich and poor , white and black , asian and european , educated and uneducated and so on which is not so important to live a simple life . I request here to think about the time we have and think about the way how we use it . Please respect the time of needy and help them to breath easily until they are with us …… Respect of humanity is simply the respect of time.

  21. Sandra Kindt

    catherine benning,
    I have been reading your posts for a while now and all I wanted to say is that I agree with everything you write wholeheartedly. Keep posting!

    • catherine benning

      Sandra Kindt,

      It is kind of you to take the time to respond to my posts. Thank you. My main objective is to try, with honesty, to end the censorship of free speech and to persuade those with the where with all, to center on the real issues in order to do something about it. Rather than let this wonderful civilization called ‘Europe’ sink into a pit of carnage through fear of facing up to what has been done in our name.

  22. Christos Mouzeviris

    Paul X I have many Brazilian and other friends here in Ireland and they tell me their stories… At least I speak from experience, talking with people who are immigrants themselves, not making assumptions from what I read or hear here and there… Perhaps you are talking about Roma Gypsies, or illegal immigrants? They are a different kind, but they are not who are we talking about… Illegal immigration is problematic, that is why is called “illegal”…. And should be dealt with.. Roma Gypsies are very insulate and the victims of discrimination all over Europe.. They have developed a way of life different than ours, partly because they are refusing to adapt in our way of life, partly because they are discriminated against.. Do not put all immigrant groups in one bag, each one is different.. Some immigrants we need… Some we don’t… That is why we need to develop a comprehensive, fair and functioning immigration policy to keep the ones who we need….

    • Paul X

      Christos, I believe you are referring to a different type of immigrant than this debate is about to. I work in a multinational company in the UK, there are at least 3 workers from India, one from Africa and more Germans and French that I care to count. My co-worker sitting next to me is from Goa so I’m well aware what he has gone through to live and work in the UK. The thing is he pays tax and contributes to the economy, the same cannot be said about the hundreds of Polish workers on the surrounding farms living in caravans and getting payed a minimal cash in hand wage. When one of them gets injured and gets taken away in a ambulance and spends a few days in hospital it is all at my expense as a UK taxpayer
      The best immigration policy is the Australian one, if you are not bringing anything to the country you won’t get in, unfortunately the EU has a completely spineless attitude to Immigration and is quite happy to be the dumping ground for anyone and everyone

  23. eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    A Europa precisa dos emigrantes que querem trabalhar dentro do espaço da UE e o que os estados membros têm de pensar é mudar os seus diplomas de emigração para poderem travar essas escravaturas modernas que existem dentro de muitos paises da UE Com politicas novas de emigração em que haja direitos iguais de cidadania e a construção de uma Europa economica e social têm que partir das decisões de todos os estados membros da UE

  24. Laszlo Nagy

    Of course it puts a pressure on border states. Both financially (interpreting is expensive, among other things) and socially (locals who live close to the refugee camps are not happy, that their streets turn into a ghetto).
    Many, a lot of the refugees are not here because of economic conditions, but because they committed some crime in their homeland, where the justice system is less proficient, or where vendetta is in practice.
    If they are denied of asylum, they can come back with another name (the untrained European eye might not recognise). Their homeland might not have a proficient database of their citizens (if at all), so it might take long to check, and it can be futile. And they can tell any story they want, no one can check what is their true reason to be there. And they know that they can get a lot of welfare money.
    Their financial background varies, some barely gets by, some sends taxi drivers to shop or do paperwork for them.

    In my opinion, the EU could help the countries of origin to bulid up better administration, and the burden on the border states should be eased – the refugees should reside in countries with better economies – with more opportunities.

  25. Christos Mouzeviris

    Paul X.. The ones who employ these people are making a profit and they are exploiting them… They are the ones to blame, not the immigrants.. These people work and while they are not paying taxes as you say, they offer their labor to British farm owners.. If they need to get hospitalized, the British farm owners should be the ones to be paying, as they are the ones who make lots of money by underpaying these people and by not covering their social insurance… So if you want to blame someone, why don’t you point the finger to the British employers who employ them? As long as they offer these jobs, these people will keep coming!!

    • Paul X

      But Christos we are not about blaming people but policy. I agree the farmers are exploiting these people but if we had a decent immigration policy they would not be allowed to attract anyone to exploit. What needs to happen is stop the influx of cheap immigrant labour and then farmers would have to employ UK nationals and pay them the minimum wage that UK legislation says they have to. That is what the people of this and no doubt many other countries wish for but are stopped from doing by unelected numbskulls Brussels

  26. Emanuel Gatt

    Isn’t Europe strong enough to force the governments where the asylum seekers come from (whose leaders live in golden palaces) to make sure their people have a decent living that they don’t need to seek a new life in another country. We, Malta, are a small nation with a heart of gold, we help a lot of people but now we are far above the limit of receiving these sort of people simple because we are their doorstep to Europe, we are sacrificing ourselves because of them. Should we keep increasing the waiting time to have an operation in our hospital because so many of them need attention and are given preference because they are in need? We still pay our taxes regularly while they are given so much aid. The EU must help, there are so many MEP’s being paid out of our taxes, they should put this on their agenda and given top priority.

    • Josephus

      Dear Emanuel, Malta is just a small nation living on the most overpopulated islands on this planet. What you say is more than true, but your politicians have accepted the UNHCR resolution for illigal migrants. The Maltese people must unite and show in bloc that you have had enough. During the 1960 , Mintoff used to say: Malta Taghna. This means: Malta is ours. It is time to enforce the rule that Malta belongs to the Maltese not to the Germans or the French or Brussels! Globalization has never been good for the Maltese Islands.

  27. JOSEPHINE SPITERI

    I’ve never beleived in europen union as we are too small to take our dificuilties serious.

  28. Christos Mouzeviris

    I agree here Paul X.. But when we are talking about EU immigration, you can not stop the free movement of people, that is one of the main freedoms for EU citizens.. You could though, make it compulsory for all EU citizens to be paid the same salary in a country…If any people coming from the new EU states would compulsory receive what a British worker would, they would not be preferred by the tax evading British farmers as it would make no difference to them to employ a Polish and Romanian, or a British, Irish and French… In that way, we both keep the free movement of people, and we limit the exploitation of both the immigrant and native workers..

    • Paul X

      Good idea, make them pay all workers the same and that will immediately stop the mass immigration of people into the UK and return the jobs to the people who live here because the attraction of eastern European cheap labor will have gone, unfortunately that will never happen

  29. james peplow

    dear,i am from Malta.pls let us live in our tiny island in peace..we have had enough immigrants now,without the eu ever really helping us..we’ve had enough of your rattling from your top of the mountain..at least,since you’re not helping us(and by helping us i mean grab 10 aeroplanes and grant asylum to these people in your country,i bet you will never never do),at least let us fix our problems..don’t come talking about human rights from your airconditioned office..

  30. Wally Vella-Zarb

    My country, Malta, is a border state. Our population density is 1557 per square kilometre – the highest in Europe. When compared with the population of each Member State, the highest rates of applicants registered were recorded in Malta (5 800 applicants per million inhabitants), Cyprus (3 300), Sweden (2 600), Belgium (2 000) and Austria (1 900).
    If anybody thinks that these people bring an opportunity for economic growth – Cecilia Maelstrom please note – please feel free to adopt them. We have had enough. No, we have had MORE than enough. We have had more than our fair share. I calculate that 200 per annum would be very generous given our circumstances; just last month we have had more than 1500 arriving.
    Where is the much vaunted solidarity, upon which the European Union was supposed to be built? Is solidarity restricted to the obscene salaries and perks in Brussels? It certainly seems that way from where I am standing!

    • Marcel

      You can bet people like Malmstrom wouldn’t even remotely consider settling even one immigrant in the all white/progressive upper class neighbourhood she probably lives in.

      She’s the epitome of the EuroSoviet’s ‘do as we say’ attitude.

      Poorer neighbourhoods are flooded with immigrant profiteers who come here only for benefits and to undercut local workers by working for far cheaper. THe Malmstroms of this world and other progressives who all advocate more immigration, mostly seem to live in upper class white neighbourhoods far away from the real world and the real problems.

      This is also why they are so stupefied at slowly finding out the devastation the Euro has caused amongst the lower middle class and the poor. After all, they never bothered to check if anyone else but their rich friends was actually benefitting.

      We’re overloaded on ‘low skill’ types. For that category it should be an immediate halt to all immigration. Send them back.

  31. Josephus

    World agribusiness is depriving poor nations of cheap food by using food as automotive fuel. This has created the Middle East revolution apart from a 50 year old African mismanagement by African nation leaders. Africa is still deep in social strife with tribal wars increasing. This leads to purging the minorities who are dispossessed and have no option but to emigrate. Since the white men has left Africa, the Chinese have been replacing them, but China has no intention of helping African nations to settle their differences. China is in for the further exploitation of minerals.
    The fact is that there will be an invasion of Europe by all these emigrants and there will be no stopping it. This happened millenia ago and will happen again. These mass migrations by boats where called “Pale” meaning “Paddle”. If you read old history you will discover that the trickle will become a flood and then the flood will become turmoil. There will be fighting in the streets and only the mega rich will be able to survive by hiring private armies. When all is settled, globalization will have occurred and thus Mecca will become the center of the world. Salamalikom.

  32. Andrew Kaci Hili

    I don’t believe at all in spreading illegal immigrants (be them asylum seekers or not) all over Europe. What I truly believe in is in sending them all back to their respective countries. I do not believe that these are truly ‘escaping’ but more likely they are being sent over by a large criminal gang for only one reason, that of infiltrating and subsequently taking over Europe. I find it very hard to swallow that these are ‘escaping’ from Libya, when Libya is constantly heavily guarded all around so it is near to impossible for such large groups to escape without being seen, hence why I say that there is some organisation behind all this!
    In a video clip I had seen of Ghaddafi speaking to his people, he clearly states that “what they never managed to do with sword and cannon they are now quietly doing it with illegal immigration”!
    Unfortunatley it seems that all our authorities do not take heed of the constant daily effects we get of these immigrats on our societies, and all they try to do is to integrate them. AND THIS IS ALL SO WRONG….SOON IT WILL BE TOO LATE FOR US ALL TO DO ANYTHING! EU MUST NOW STOP THIS MADNESS, AND INSTEAD OF INSISTING ON TRYING TO INTEGRATE THEM, SHOULD SEND THEM ALL BACK AND IF THEY STILL WISH TO HELP THEM SHOULD DO SO IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES….NOT IN OURS!

  33. Jean Joey (Malta)

    Who are these Immigrants ??are they all escaping war??? Has anyone in national security ever thought that terrorists can infiltrate these unfortunate people?? We just saw alerts regarding a threat that was intercepted and the EU states to keep them in our country, how about checking them out first

  34. Stash

    I am from Malta and have been following these issues closely. Ms Malmstrom can be accused of both pretension and presumption here. Pretension that the Commission can take over what remain the prerogatives of national states and their elected governments by imposing the implementing rules of a common asylum framework. Presumption that such a framework and its implementing rules already exists. If the EU states had agreed amongst themselves common rules for sharing the burden of hosting illegal immigrants and asylum seekers apprehended when crossing an EU border, the Commissioner would be entitled to speak on matters relating for ex to the enforcement of such rules. But with no such rules, the Commissioner has some gall to dictate to such border states how to apply international asylum conventions which the individual states, not the EU, are legal party to, as she has attempted to do in the case of Malta. The linkage of EU asylum rules with ‘globalisation’ whatever that is supposed to mean, is also nonsensical and makes the Commisioner sound like a student activist. What do wars and the failed states that create asylum seekers have to do with globalisation? Surely we should not mean asylum seekers to be a euphemism for economic migrants?

    Any common EU asylum framework – no, one does not exist at the moment, regardless of what the European Parliament has voted for, it is the Dublin Convention that remains the primary regulatory model – presumes the existence of a defined EU border. Yet a defined EU border remains a geographical expression as long as national borders remain in force when it comes to asylum seekers. Countries have refused to give up their national border arrangements for asylum seekers within the EU. By ignoring these & so many other realities, such as the impact of sudden influxes of large numbers of unskilled Africans on existing communities (always blithely ignored under the mantra that multiculturalism is good) Ms Malmstrom loses credibility and fosters the very extremism that most of us, not just NGOs and the EC, loathe and despise.

    We expect realism from Europe’s policy makers – even the unelected ones.

  35. MARIO FENECH

    We have had enough of immigrants coming in our small island . Thousands are coming each year and There must be a Stop . We don’t even know who these people are , coming here many of them they don’t pay taxes , get free benefits and government pays thousands of euros from our taxes . Why don’t EU start taking instead of only talking . When should we realize that this is a big problem for our island malta and other countries in 10 years time when its to late . If it was for me we don’t accept anymore , we give food , medicines and a boat to go back if necessary but know one comes in same as AUSTRALIA .Then you come and talk about human rights , where are our rights , why don’t you get a tank and we send them to your country I ll bet you never take them . ITS a big problem and has to stop ..

  36. JJ

    Isn’t asylum the process where we look to provide security and safety for individuals who fear for their lives (legitimately) in their home country? As such I find the EU is probably too generous in how they deal with this. On this basis there are many countries one may visit to seek asylum. The economic advantages of Europe maybe should be made harder to reach for non legal migrants who don’t border our countries. Though the Australian idea with PNG seems harsh, if they are providing safety to asylum seekers from their country of origin Australia is fulfilling their obligations (at its own cost). Perhaps a similar situation could be more humanely created in the EU for countries needing additional workforce (perhaps also easier to track)?
    Talking about economic migrants however, well either a sponsored visa or proof of skills should be the minimum to secure entry for an individual to gain access. For unskilled labour, a proper plan should be put together (numbers required, how to achieve citizenship, how to manage integration).
    All for immigration (the EU will be richer for it), but let’s make sure people are coming for the right reasons and contributing.

    • Wally Vella-Zarb

      What we are getting are people who want to get into Europe for economic reasons. They claim that they are from Somalia but have no documentation to substantiate their claims. They have evidently lived and worked for several years in Libya, otherwise how would they have saved up to $1000 that they need for the passage? Would you call them genuine refugees fleeing from their country? They could have easily stayed on in Libya and been safe. If anyone really believes – like Cecilia Malmstrom has said – that they are an opportunity to boost the economy, please feel free to take them off of our hands. At a population density of more than 1550 per square kilometre we cannot take any more!

  37. Paul X

    It is most certainly not a game
    Explain to me one good reason why immirgants to the UK should get benefits that I have been paying my taxes for for over 35 years?
    UK benefits are a safety net for those who contribute to them, not a free handout for anyone who turns up on our shores
    We already have a shortage of school places, a shortage of housing and over 3 million unemployed, just how do you expect us to provide secure jobs, education and accomodation for everyone who thinks they deserve it just because they are from an EU country?
    We are already one of the few net contributors to the EU budget I do not see why people should expect to come here and take even more out of our country

  38. Paul X

    You say you do not know about our contribution?

    Look at the charts in this article, first the one about countries that give most to the EU budget, then the one about which countries receive the most

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9643193/EU-budget-who-pays-what-and-how-it-is-spent.html

    Now you see the facts maybe you should stop lecturing me on how much more of my hard earned tax should be spent on eastern European migrants.
    It has nothing to do with xenophobia, it is purely about finances, why should money I earn go to support other EU national rather than my own family?

    Answer on a postcard…..

  39. Artemis

    I’m sorry that I can’t follow the logic of most of you here. The Earth is our home and everybody who lives on it should have the same right for security, good living conditions, work, food, water, peace etc. We in Europe are sitting on our fat bottoms, well feeded, with welfare from the state and debate about how ‘outside’ countries should live. From where we even think the place we are born is ours and only ours? How do we have the hypocricy to support wars in other countries, to help destroy them, afterwards let our companies getting profit for building them again, telling to ourself that we are so supportive to nations in need? How we support the big europeen companies who exploit the people that work in their factories in countries far away, without security and lowest wages? How did our countries get so wealthy? Of course by exploiting the rest of the world. How can we judge afterwards some migrant who comes to Europe because his family needs to be supported because in his country there is not enough food and money to survive? How can we forget the stock market that is elevating the prices on the food market so high, that other people in other countries cannot survive and have to migrate to our country? We are still so lucky here in Europe, soon we could become again refugees, who knows, and then, who do you think will give us asylum? I think the European image is growing worse and worse with every migrant we treat in the way they usually are treated here.

    So, just now it it is still too utopic to open all borders for everyone to be able peacefully to live together with other humans, whereever on our Earth he wants to live, because we Europeans and Americans … have made a mess out of our planet. So, with the situation now, of course it is the duty of every European country to work with the others together, not Germany and the countries in the center playing the nice guys while supporting the outside countries with money so that they play the bad guys (=concentration camps for migrants in Greece etc.).
    Migrants are no criminals, they just want to live, like everyone of us wants, has the same dreams, has family, believes etc. and it is criminal to treet them as if they where criminals, only because they have no papers.
    Its hightime that European people get more open minded, not only in their holidays or when they visit a exotic restaurant.

    • Andrew

      What a load of bull Artemis!!! Yes sure migrants are not criminals, but illegal migrants are as first and foremost they are entering a country illegally with no documents and THAT IS A CRIME IN ALL COUNTRIES! Just try entering their countries with no documents and see what will become of you!

      I also agree that the Earth is our home and everybody who lives on it should have the same right for security, good living conditions, work, food, water, peace etc, but it is not right for others to enter our countries illegally, for whatever the reason, infiltrate our countries and expect to be treated much better then the locals are treated. If they have unrest in their countries they should fight for their rights THERE not come to our countries with the excuse of escaping this unrest and demand every right under the planets from us…rights that they never even dreamed of but then want with a vengeance once they hit our shores!

      To a certain extent I do not mind legal migration, as everyone has a right to a better future in another country I think! But illegal immigration is definitely a no go situation….I for one do not believe that most of these are truly escaping the so called unrest in their countries, and I also do not believe that these aren’t all muslims with a deadly plan on their minds. I strongly believe that these are just blatant excuses and their only scope is to infiltrate Europe and in time will take over the whole world. As the late dictator Ghaddafi had said himself “what we did not do with sword and cannot throughout the ages, we are silently doing it now with illegal immigration”

      BUT WE ARE ALL TO BLIND AND STUPID TO SEE THIS…EVEN THOUGH IT IS CONSTANTLY HITTING US IN THE FACE!

  40. Rosie Charalambous

    standardisation of the treatment of asylum seekers across Europe (with sanctions against countries not complying) needs to be enforced the soonest. Too many member states act arbitrarily with no comeback

  41. Rosie Charalambous

    standardisation of the treatment of asylum seekers needs to be implemented across the bloc (with sanctions imposed on those who do not conform). Illegal immigration is another matter altogether, and one which the EU seems at present to have no policy on.

  42. Josephus

    Artemis, I would more say that you should write under the synonym Semirat. You have no right to impose conditions on nations that have fought long and hard to remain healthy and at peace with each other. So, I will say to you again. You are a semi rat. You want to create havoc and distress among nations. YOU WANT ILLEGALS ? YOU take them into your house, feed them and give them a bed in your children’s rooms. OR better still, go to Indonesia and help all those illegal travellers who call themselves “Migrants of conscience,” Give them all your money and stay with them.

  43. Artemis

    I feel amused about the niveau Josephus and Andrew show here. Andrew did not read even the things I was writing. I am in favour of compleate peace and equalness for every being on earth, not the things you say I was writing. In my opinion, such a forum should not allow postings that try to insult the opinions of others. If not at least the freedom of opinion is garanteed, we need not start to talk with each other.

  44. Artemis

    Sorry, wrong, Josephus was the one who didn’t seem to have read my comment.

  45. Andrew

    Oh….I see….glad you arranged that Artemis ;-)

  46. smartness

    According to UNHCR, in 2012, 75% of all asylum seekers in the World were destined for Europe. 22% were destined for the US and Canada, 3% for Australia and New Zealand and just 1% were destined for Japan and South Korea. The world is a huge place, and there are many countries one could go to to be safe, not just Western countries. So couldn’t you conclude that asylum seekers are not just concerned about their safety, but moreover their economic well being? And why isn’t Asia doing its part in accepting asylum seekers? Asia actually has growing economies whereas the West has little growth and there are not enough jobs for its citizens. Superpowers of the future will not be Western countries, they will be Asian countries.

    • Artemis

      @smartness: You may be right about the numbers for asylum seekers, on the other hand there is the huge number of refugees who mainly stay in the neighbour countries. You have to distinguish between asylum seekers and refugees.
      “An asylum seeker is a person who wants sanctuary in another country and applies for the right to be recognized as a refugee. A refugee is recognized as a person who was forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence, according to UNHCR.”
      http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/05/world/asia/refugees-asylum-statistics/index.html

      “An asylum seeker is a person who makes a request for refuge, usually in a foreign country.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asylum_seeker_(disambiguation).

      Most people who flee from another country don’t ever make this request. So you should look at the numbers of refugees and not for numbers of asylum seekers where it is doubtful whether they get in the end accknowledged as refugees.

      “Pakistan hosts the most refugees with 1.7 million. The second and third leading countries to host refugees at the end of 2011 were Iran and Syria. The 2011 report is the most recent one available by UNHCR and may not reflect the current crisis in Syria.”
      http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/05/world/asia/refugees-asylum-statistics/index.html

  47. Josephus

    THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN REMOVED BY MODERATORS FOR BREACHING OUR CODE OF CONDUCT. REPLIES MAY ALSO BE REMOVED.

    • Artemis

      And, as it seems, the EU hosts also a bunch of fascistic thinking people that are far more dangerous in my humble opinion.

    • Andrew Kaci Hili

      :-)

  48. Jaqueline+Freidberg

    Your point of reference in how we conduct our actions frequently changes our viewpoint. Sometimes this change is good and sometimes this alteration is bad but it is our viewpoint that controls over what we see.

  49. NA

    How about the rights of the European people? The right to have their countries as they know and love them, to not be threaten by Islam, to not have to finance a massive influx of people, to keep their culture and their way of life? Who defends those rigts? Some Europeans seem to ignore the problems such a massive amount of inmigrants can pose, the writer(s) of these being one of those who put romantic ideals before reality. Why do politicians and the EU punish people by imposing them to cope with things most of them don’t want? Refugee camps under the condition of sending them to their home countries in a couple years when the situation stabilizes yes, entrance no.

required
required Your email will not be published

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of new comments. You can also subscribe without commenting.

More debates from this series – Immigration in the EU View all