The number of asylum seekers reaching Germany has fallen dramatically in recent weeks. The Balkan route is now closed, there are NATO and Frontex naval patrols in the Mediterranean and Aegean, and a controversial deal is in place with Turkey, allowing Greece to automatically deport to Turkey all new “irregular migrants” arriving by boat (in return for the EU resettling an equal number of Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey).
But does this mean the migrant crisis is over? The underlying reasons causing people to leave their countries (war, terrorism, civil rights abuses, and poverty) still exist. The war against the so-called Islamic State grinds on, and the fragile ceasefire in Syria’s civil war is swiftly unravelling.
The Mediterranean is still a graveyard. In April, up to 500 migrants may have drowned when the boat carrying them to Europe capsized off the coast of Libya. Irregular migration is bound to continue, and the extra measures to prevent it may drive migrants to take bigger risks.
There are also question marks over the deal with Turkey. Is Turkey a safe country to deport irregular migrants to, given reports of widespread human rights abuses and concerns over press freedom? European countries are also reportedly getting cold feet over a visa-free short-term travel deal for Turkish citizens, offered in return for the EU-Turkey migrant agreement.
Is Europe’s migrant crisis finally under control? Has the EU put in place the right policies to finally end the crisis? Or are the root causes of the crisis still untreated? And has the crisis exposed Europe’s humanitarian principles as hypocrisy? 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 – Pay No Mind