refugeesFrom inside, Europe doesn’t always feel like a rich continent. Unemployment is still high, and people everywhere are struggling to make ends meet. The bitter election being fought in France recently has brought that feeling to the fore. Yet, compared to the rest of the world, the quality of life is good in Europe.

Is it unreasonable, then, for Europe to also help people fleeing conflict and persecution as refugees? Over 80% of the world’s refugees are hosted in the developing world, so the EU is not being asked to shoulder a disproportionate burden. Does Europe not have a moral duty to help those in distress?

We had a comment from Alex, who does believe that Europe has a moral duty to help refugees. However, he believes Europe also has a greater duty to its own citizens. Are these two obligations in conflict with one another?

To get a response, we spoke to Paweł Adamowicz, Mayor of the Polish city of Gdańsk. Poland is the sixth-largest economy in the European Union, yet average wages are still half the EU average. Despite this, Gdańsk under Mayor Adamowicz has positioned itself as a city in solidarity with refugees. So, what would he say to Alex?

We also had a question from Muscas, who believes the moral duty to help refugees doesn’t lie with Europe, but rather with Middle Eastern countries neighbouring Syria. What would Paweł Adamowicz say in response?

Does Europe have a moral duty to help refugees? And is there a conflict between helping refugees and helping your own citizens? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – European Commission DG ECHO


71 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Παυλος Χαραλαμπους

    Both must be helped at the same time! Otherwise it won’t work! A good example of what kind of policies we must take is the Greek program for the refugees of 1923 greco-Turkish war.back then the government to a series of actions to help both the refugees and the extremely poor locals..as a result or as an American reporter had said ” the country have jumped for 19th century to 20th in a matter of months “…this crisis is nothing in front of what our grand fathers have seen. .lets try not to drawn in a glass of water

    • Παυλος Χαραλαμπους

      Yep what ever Michael Paraskevas ..may i ask you a question? You use google translate or just t9??? It’s obvious you don’t know a shit about this you just throwing some words that might sound great in Greek but in English they don’t make any sense at all! Yep it’s a shitty thing not to know basic English

  2. Ivan Burrows

    .

    A better question would be ‘When does helping financial migrants become cultural suicide ?’

    • Zille Vuk

      When they numbers become large and overvote local people. Than will shitt hit the fan

  3. Cãlin Rednic

    There is none while their status and the privileges derrived from it is of a refugee. When the term refugee fades into “immigrant”, social implications may vary.

  4. Zille Vuk

    YESS !! Nothing against helping refugees, but 95% of “refugees” wich enter europe are welfare tourists !!

    • Ivan Burrows

      .

      We should care because ?, how many would you let in, 10,000, 100,000 or all of them ?

    • Stamelos Papavasiliou

      Eritrea has 5 neighbouring countries, and 15 which are neighbours to its neighbours. Before crossing a continent and a sea almost as big as an ocean, they could reach another fellow country. But as all welfare turists they aim for the big shot: Europe.

  5. Spyros Kouvoussis

    Its not the question of how many allowing in. Its the question about how treating those who are already here.

    • Ivan Burrows

      .

      And to hell with the rest ?, you have a strange version of compassion.

    • Zille Vuk

      Take them in your home and soon it will be clear what are they intentions.. Try Spyrous and find out by your self.

  6. Hector Niehues-Jeuffroy

    Economic research on immigration (e.g. by George Burda in the U.S.) shows that this very much depends on the destination country and the characteristics of the immigrants. If immigrants create new jobs or fill jobs for which there are not enough domestic workers, they can make a positive contribution to a country’s economy and bring about a win-win situation. If, by contrast, they are at a high risk of unemployment and receiving social benefits or if their integration is particularly difficult due to socio-cultural reasons, the outcome is more likely to look like a trade-off. For example, because most Vietnamese and Iranian immigrants (yes, the latter are typically Muslims) to Germany were either high-skilled and/or very hard-working, they are generally well-integrated and welcome. On the other hand, the immigration of many low-skilled immigrants is likely to set them into competition with older low-skilled immigrants and slow the latter’s integration (e.g. in Germany, Syrian refugees will mostly be in concurrence with less recent immigrants from ex-Yugoslavia or North Africa).
    The key take-away is that we have to understand that (a) immigration is neither advantageous or disadvantage per se – its effect depends on its management – and (b) accept a multicultural society as a sustainable system (even though it might not always be an outright failure). By consequence, we should adapt the inflow of immigrants to Europe’s needs and capacities and require the assimilation of long-term immigrants as a form of in-depth integration. For example, research by Ruud Koopmans shows that immigrants who are similar in attitudes to natives in terms of share of natives among contacts, native language proficiency and attitudes w.r.t. gender equality, also have similar rates of labour market participation. Otherwise, we even do those immigrants who came to Europe because they want to live here according to European values a disservice.
    Oh, and btw, yes, I have a “migration background” myself.

    • Ioanna

      Well put.

    • Paul X

      So who is George Burda, a professor in speaking the bleeding obvious? Of course it “depends on the destination country and the characteristics of the immigrants” , no research is necessary to figure that one out

      As for management, clearly that conclusion has been made by a manager themselves, only they believe management can solve everything

      If tens of thousands of low skilled refugees arrive in a country they require resources and facilities (i.e. taxpayers money) to look after them, “managing” them will achieve nothing apart from providing statistics and power point presentations so the liberal left to congratulate themselves on how much good they have achieved by spending other peoples money

      Even if a majority of these refugees find work the chances of it being a job that pays sufficient for them to pay tax and national insurance is very unlikely and they therefore will not be net contributing to that countries economy

      People need to differentiate between Immigration of high skilled workers (in demand and of great benefit to any country) and low skilled refugees (a burden where ever they go)

  7. Hector Niehues-Jeuffroy

    Economic research on immigration (e.g. by George Burda in the U.S.) shows that this very much depends on the destination country and the characteristics of the immigrants. If immigrants create new jobs or fill jobs for which there are not enough domestic workers, they can make a positive contribution to a country’s economy and bring about a win-win situation. If, by contrast, they are at a high risk of unemployment and receiving social benefits or if their integration is particularly difficult due to socio-cultural reasons, the outcome is more likely to look like a trade-off. For example, because most Vietnamese and Iranian immigrants (yes, the latter are typically Muslims) to Germany were either high-skilled and/or very hard-working, they are generally well-integrated and welcome. On the other hand, the immigration of many low-skilled immigrants is likely to set them into competition with older low-skilled immigrants and slow the latter’s integration (e.g. in Germany, Syrian refugees will mostly be in concurrence with less recent immigrants from ex-Yugoslavia or North Africa).
    The key take-away is that we have to understand that (a) immigration is neither advantageous or disadvantage per se – its effect depends on its management – and (b) accept that a multicultural society is not a sustainable system (even though it might not always be an outright failure). By consequence, we should adapt the inflow of immigrants to Europe’s needs and capacities and require the assimilation of long-term immigrants as a form of in-depth integration. For example, research by Ruud Koopmans shows that immigrants who are similar in attitudes to natives in terms of share of natives among contacts, native language proficiency and attitudes w.r.t. gender equality, also have similar rates of labour market participation. Otherwise, we even do those immigrants who came to Europe because they want to live here according to European values a disservice.
    Oh, and btw, yes, I have a “migration background” myself.

  8. Jason Picci

    The better question is : Should those (politicians, ONG/NGOs and financiers) who have directly or indirectly promoted all the wars and régime changes in Africa and the Middle East since 2001 be DEPORTED to those countries?

  9. Mauro Scimia

    I agree with Hector. Everything depends on management and enforcement of legality. At the moment, EU Countries fight each other to load the burden of immigration on someone else, and do not fight criminal exploitation instead. In Italy, only 5% of some 150,000 migrants have been found to meet the refugee status . All the other ones come from Nigeria, Bangla-Desh, Guinea, mainly countries with no apparent war ongoing. This doesn’t work.

    • Παυλος Χαραλαμπους

      I agree with your concept in general but I have to say that the system has “howls” for example a woman from north Africa who try to escape from barbaric religious practices can be called immigrant or refugee?

  10. Michael Paraskevas

    More than 80 percent are illegals and not real war victims. The NWO promotes the islamization of Europe and gives more benefits to the illegals than to their own citizens who have to pay taxes. The EU keeps acting like Turkey’s bitch and instead of sanctioning Erdogan they allow him to keeps sending boats of illegals through the Aegean sea. In 20 years there will be no Western European civilization.

  11. Vitor F Veiga

    All the world envies europe…They expect the EU to solve all the problems, America, China, Japan, do nothing, and just want to sell everything they can to our continent. We help, and we want to do better, but come on do something! Like Canada for example. And also Turkey, except that they use the 3 million refugees they have as blackmail…

  12. Paul X

    Yes there is a conflict because the average taxpaying member of the public gets nothing out of helping refugees
    The liberal left who browbeat people by claiming we are morally obliged to help them curl up in their bed at night with a warm satisfying glow knowing how they are helping the needy, but at the end of the day it isn’t their money that gets used, ……they get the glow, the taxpayer foots the bill
    Taxpayers have a right to expect the money they are forced to hand over to be spend to the benefit of the society they live in…there are plenty of charities out there if people feel the need to spend money to make themselves morally enriched

    • Ioanna

      Helping refugees can, if done correctly, be a great investment into European societies. Birth rates are falling and the population as a whole is ageing – an influx of skilled, productive members can be very positive! Spending money on refugees (e.g. teaching them the local language, helping them integrate into communities and the job market) can improve European communities.

    • Paul X

      If you have any figures on what percentage of refugees are skilled and educated then please share them, my guess is the vast majority have no qualifications and lack even the basic language skills necessary to do anthing productive

      This “aging population” excuse is getting a bit tiresome, to contribute to the economy a refugee needs to be in a job that pays over the threashold for paying tax (Currently in UK £11.000) I guess that out of those that do actually find work very few will be above this threshold and therefore contribute nothing, the rest that don’t work are a 100% drain.
      As for teaching them there is plenty of scope for improvement in our own childrens education without needing refugees to justify additional spending .

    • Ioanna

      Obviously, numbers vary depending on age, nationality, and reason for migration, so there are no comprehensive statistics. But, for example, a 2015 UNHCR study (quoted here http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/578956/IPOL_STU(2016)578956_EN.pdf) found that Syrian refugees arriving in Greece are ‘highly educated.’ Obviously studies of other sub-groups, particularly within specific European countries, have other results.
      However, even people who have only had vocational training are not just a drain to society – there are plenty of jobs that do not require university degrees – construction, for example, is currently booming in Germany.

    • Paul X

      One line in that report does “suggest” that Syrian refugees going through Greece are highly educated, but that is clearly a very selective piece of data. The rest of the report gives a more realistic overview of the educational standards of all the other refugees, it also finishes with the conclusion…(quote)

      “To sum up, there are no quick solutions for refugees’ integration into the labour market –anywhere. To get the majority of the recent cohort of young humanitarian migrants into employment or (vocational) education and training, high investments in language proficiency and skills acquisition are needed”

      For “high investments” read “taxpayers money”

      Also of note in the report is mention that very few refugees actually have any evidence of their education so even the “highly qualified” ones may just invent diplomas or degrees

  13. Zsolt Füri

    The biggest conflict is that some NGOs work together with mafia to help refuegees to come to Europe…

    • Stefania Portici

      tu la chiami mafia ma è criminalità internazionale perchè da una parte ci sono gli scafisti e dall’altra imbarcazioni PRIVATE non italiane . Quelle italiane sembra che stiano lavorando con coscienza e comunque non può essere gestito questo problema ENORME da privati , i privati non pensano al bene comune pensano agli affari

    • Zsolt Füri

      Sono daccordo…sono convinto che e internazionale!!!

    • Zille Vuk

      Refugee respect the food you give him. There are thouzend cases trowing food they give them on the floor so you tell me this are “REFUGEES”?? Sorry NO

    • Απόστολος Γαρούφος

      I am sorry for my wrong! I wanted to write “immigrants”, no refugees! About the last that you say I can’t capture your thought!

    • Zille Vuk

      Look i see in Calais with my own eyes these”refugees oor immigrants” and most of them and round 95% are only here for free money”welfare” and are causing big problems for local people !!

    • Απόστολος Γαρούφος

      Wait a minute… You are from France or Europe generally and you have those stances? I don’t know what are you saying, the only thing that I know is that those people have a war and they want peace and freedom. They want to live and to give their children plenty of perspectives without restrictions and fear for their life! Giwrgos Gekas δες τί λέει ο μαλάκας!

    • Gunter Turker

      Απόστολος Γαρούφος those who want freedom are welcome but those who are abusing a social system and do NOT want to integrate should go to hell !!!!

    • Απόστολος Γαρούφος

      Well, I will agree with you… If only they want freedom then are welcome here in Europe… Any different religion or nationality are not welcome!

  14. Malcolm Seychell

    of course its like saying you have your child without food and shelter and you give it to somebody else instead. Shame on the eu

  15. Stefania Portici

    l’Europa non mi sembra che stia aiutando gli immigrati nè il popolo europeo . Siamo invasi di immigrati di tutti i tipi e non tutti sono bisognosi, alcuni vengono a passare le vacanze gratis nel mio Paese compresa l’istruzione gratuita e il mantenimento a carico dei cittadini mentre ai cittadini italiani non hanno tutele sociali. . La UE ha lasciato gestire gli “aiuti” del mediterraneo ad imbarcazioni private che stanno facendo affari . La magistratura sta indagando, ancora di ufficiale non ci sta niente ma lo vediamo con i nostri occhi quel che sta succedendo . Siamo pieni , pieni , pieni di immigrati , tutte le strutture sono piene , non sappiamo più dove metterli. E’ un caos

    • Stefania Portici

      ma perchè ci maltrattate cosi ! Dopo che ci derubate ci riempite di immigrati a carico nostro . Perchè !?

    • Zille Vuk

      Because fucking EU wants cheap workers and stupid people dont onderstend whats going on !!

  16. Stefania Portici

    l’Europa non mi sembra che stia aiutando gli immigrati nè il popolo europeo . Siamo invasi di immigrati di tutti i tipi e non tutti sono bisognosi, alcuni vengono a passare le vacanze gratis nel mio Paese compresa l’istruzione gratuita e il mantenimento a carico dei cittadini mentre ai cittadini italiani non hanno tutele sociali. . La UE ha lasciato gestire gli “aiuti” del mediterraneo ad imbarcazioni private che stanno facendo affari . La magistratura sta indagando, ancora di ufficiale non ci sta niente ma lo vediamo con i nostri occhi quel che sta succedendo . Siamo pieni , pieni , pieni di immigrati , tutte le strutture sono piene , non sappiamo più dove metterli. E’ un disastro ! La mia cittadina di 70.000 persone ad esempio , ospita 60.000 immigrati . Quasi dappertutto è cosi . Vi sembra una cosa normale ? E continuano a venire……

  17. Stefania Portici

    ma perchè ci maltrattate cosi ? Dopo che ci derubate ci riempite di immigrati a carico nostro . Perchè ?

  18. Stefania Portici

    la domanda dice ” c’è conflitto tra aiuto ai rifugiati e aiutare i propri cittadini ? ” La risposta è che la UE non aiuta nessun cittadino europeo e ancor meno il mio , lo deruba dei suoi beni, dei suoi diritti , dei suoi principi, dei suoi valori . Noi vogliamo riprenderci la nostra Costituzione , li ci stanno scritti tutti i valori economici e sociali nei quali ci riconosciamo

  19. Andreas Nikolaidis

    υποκριτες που διευθυνετε την ΕΕ ΕΧΕΤΕ υποχρεωση να βοηθησετε ΠΡΩΤΑ τους πολιτες της ΕΕ που πληρωνουν φορους φορους φορους και ξανα φορους για να απολαμβανετε ΕΣΕΙΣ μισθους και ωφεληματα. Δεν εχετε καν εκλεγει αντιδημοκρατες

  20. Ioanna

    In the short term, it is obvious that there is a conflict between helping refugees and your own citizens simply because money allocated to refugees will necessarily not go to citizens. But having children does not mean that one should not donate to charity at all – it just means that what money governments allocate to refugees should be used as efficiently as possible.
    In the long term, however, helping refugees can, if done properly, be extremely beneficient to European citizens as well. Firstly, birth rates in Europe are very low and an ageing population means that the burden on younger generations is always increasing. Many refugees are skilled professionals and can become extremely valuable members to European communities if they are given the opportunity to do so (e.g. learning the local language, not being barred from job markets).
    Secondly, if Europe decides that its own citizens are absolutely more important than refugees, then any other nation is morally able to do the same thing. Not half a century ago, millions were fleeing Europe, many of whom had doors shut in their faces. Perhaps much of Europe is prosperous at the moment, but the international laws on refugees apply to everybody, and ignoring them now could set a dangerous precedent. On the other hand, creating a precedent of respecting and supporting the rights of refugees sets a positive precedent.
    Overall, supporting refugees is, if done correctly, not contrary to helping our own citizens, because supporting refugees is an investment into both local and international communities.

  21. catherine benning

    Is there a conflict between helping refugees and helping your own citizens?

    This is a question that defies common sense. Of course there is a conflict and you know it.

    Advertising all over the world for illiterate slave labout to invade Europe and give them preference over social housing, education, Health cover and welfare benefits at the cost to the European tax payer is obscene and a fraudulent use of our money.

    You want to support these people out of your own personal money, house them and maintain them within your household for the rest of their lives, well go ahead. Do not touch a penny, even a penny more taxes from the people you have bleached.

    Additionally all politicians must be held personally responsible for payment of compensation for any crime these people may commit whilst in Europe. And, additionally, any politician supporting this must pay out of their own personal income all the costs of lawyers, courts and jail time they have to serve.

    Any child they bring with them must also be maintained by those same compassionate politicians and their supporters and not duff the cost onto our hard working earners.

    How does it feel to steep yourselves in that debt for a lifetime?

    • Paul X

      It’s easy to not be self centered with other peoples money…..

  22. Gunter Turker

    there is a massive conflict since refugees are helped more than local citizen in need…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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