Humanitarian / International

Refugee Crisis: Innovation in Policy Making

“Europe is in a state of emergency. Business as usual should end. We need a fast -track emergency approach to get a grip of the refugee crisis. To save our European Union.”

The European refugee crisis is a human catastrophe that will be experienced for several generations.

More than two million asylum seekers from the Middle East and North Africa alone, are risking their own lives as well as their children to flee on foot or in over crowded rubber dinghies that more often than not, sink. Children wash ashore, dead.

According to the UNHCR, “on average two children drown a day trying to reach safety in Europe.” Many children who do survive the crossing, are arriving in countries unaccompanied without their parents.

Many in Europe are witnessing a human crisis of proportions no one has ever experienced nor, obviously, anticipated.

European governments, non-governmental organizations, United Nations organizations, and so many charities, are spending billions of dollars to navigate this humanitarian crisis and offer assistance to more than four million people in crisis in the Middle East and nearly one million seeking asylum in Europe.

UNCHR indicates since 2011, almost 900,000 Syrian applications for asylum have been filed. In 2014 exclusively, Syrians have submitted over 130,000 asylum applications in Europe. Daily news of war, starvation and violence in Syria generates even more pressure for families to escape. Denying entry to asylum seekers is a violation of international humanitarian law.

Simultaneously local communities are reacting harshly to the influx of asylum seekers with nationalistic fervor and even authorizing the seizure of the meager assets carried by families seeking protection and shelter.

Clearly, many countries do not have the ability to process hundreds of application a day; cover the humanitarian costs of hosting thousands of asylum seekers; nor have the flexibility to adapt to the crisis, especially with the legal frameworks supporting unaccompanied children.

Had individuals and families not stepped in to offer water, food, shelter, and clothing to families fleeing war, conflict and economic poverty, the refugee crisis in Europe would be far different today.

However, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group is offering an innovative solution to break through the legal and bureaucratic cumbersome process that is completely paralyzed by the sheer volume of applications, legal requirements and social support necessary to accommodate over a million people arriving in Europe.

Their report – ALDE roadmap- Refugee Crisis-EN is well worth the time to study and evaluate.

Angelika Mlinar, an Austrian member of the European Parliament, while in Washington, DC for leadership meetings, gave a special presentation to the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. She shared policy changes that slice through burdensome bureaucratic procedures to offer concrete solutions that are cost effective and humane.

The proposal is four fold and worth an honest evaluation for all of Europe.

  1. The EU should create an Emergency Response Force.
  2. EU should mandate a consistent asylum procedure.
  3. Offer a working permit to the migrant worker while recognizing the difference with the asylum seeker seeking emergency protection.
  4. Develop an overall Peace plan, similar to the German Marshall Plan

This report is common sense and offers political leadership a road map that identifies clear cut opportunities to alleviate the humanitarian crisis as well as ensure that appropriate funding is dedicated to the crisis.

Leadership and donors should evaluate and implement the most cost effective way to use the available resources and technology to stabilize the crisis; guarantee no duplication of responsibilities; and, that bureaucratic government regulations, do not prolong the crisis.

Successful integration and stability requires that families can reunite. When the time is right, families should be able to return home or immigrate to a new host country safely.

This report reveals a much needed innovative approach to policy making, the importance of anticipating a crisis, and planning accordingly. Innovative entrepreneurial thinking before a crisis and adaptive policy making during a crisis benefits all and could be applied any situation in any country.

Flexibility in government policy during a crisis is a sign of an advanced society.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

By Keri Douglas, founder and publisher of Copyright protected 2016. All Rights Reserved.




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