Syrian refugee in her temporary home. World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr

No Time to Lose in Syria

The arrival of thousands of mostly Syrian refugees has confronted the EU with two stark realities: its member states are not all meeting their obligations, and its position regarding Syria’s civil war is unsustainable. Only if these shortcomings are remedied immediately can the EU press effectively for a political solution in Syria.

MADRID – The arrival of hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children seeking refuge from conflict has confronted the European Union with two stark realities. First, its member states are not all meeting their obligations, both to one another and according to international law. Second, its position regarding Syria’s civil war is unsustainable. To be clear: failing to work towards peace in Syria is just as grave an error as turning away those fleeing from persecution.

The defects in Europe’s asylum legislation and the difference among its member states’ practices have been evident for some time. But the 350,000 refugees who crossed European borders, and the more than 2,600 who drowned trying to reach them, in the first eight months of this year have opened our eyes. The inhumane conditions these refugees face are unacceptable.

Now, on top of the so-called “north-south” split that emerged from the economic crisis, the United Kingdom’s potential exit from the EU, and the critical situation in Greece, a new breach, between east and west, has appeared in Europe. The EU cannot afford any more cracks. Therefore, it must use all possible means to compel its members to abide by their international and European legal obligations.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/f4xnxwV;
  1. An employee works at a chemical fiber weaving company VCG/Getty Images

    China in the Lead?

    For four decades, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth under a centralized, authoritarian political system, far outpacing growth in the Western liberal democracies. So, is Chinese President Xi Jinping right to double down on authoritarianism, and is the “China model” truly a viable rival to Western-style democratic capitalism?

  2. The assembly line at Ford Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Whither the Multilateral Trading System?

    The global economy today is dominated by three major players – China, the EU, and the US – with roughly equal trading volumes and limited incentive to fight for the rules-based global trading system. With cooperation unlikely, the world should prepare itself for the erosion of the World Trade Organization.

  3. Donald Trump Saul Loeb/Getty Images

    The Globalization of Our Discontent

    Globalization, which was supposed to benefit developed and developing countries alike, is now reviled almost everywhere, as the political backlash in Europe and the US has shown. The challenge is to minimize the risk that the backlash will intensify, and that starts by understanding – and avoiding – past mistakes.

  4. A general view of the Corn Market in the City of Manchester Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    A Better British Story

    Despite all of the doom and gloom over the United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union, key manufacturing indicators are at their highest levels in four years, and the mood for investment may be improving. While parts of the UK are certainly weakening economically, others may finally be overcoming longstanding challenges.

  5. UK supermarket Waring Abbott/Getty Images

    The UK’s Multilateral Trade Future

    With Brexit looming, the UK has no choice but to redesign its future trading relationships. As a major producer of sophisticated components, its long-term trade strategy should focus on gaining deep and unfettered access to integrated cross-border supply chains – and that means adopting a multilateral approach.

  6. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now