In response to the current Mediterranean refugee and migrant crisis, by the end of this month the European Commission will make a recommendation to propose an EU-wide quota scheme that would offer 20,000 resettlement places to refugees, with resettlement shared amongst Member States according to criteria that would include a state's GDP, population size, past number of asylum seekers, unemployment rate and previous voluntary resettlement efforts. Yesterday, Professor Dawn Chatty appeared on the BBC One discussion programme 'The Big Questions' to debate this proposed EU quota system for refugees.
Professor Chatty highlighted the disparities currently existing between EU states in their individual responses to the Syria refugee crisis, and called for greater international cooperation in refugee protection, akin to the Comprehensive Plan of Action put together in response to the Vietnamese 'boat people' in the late 1980s. She also argued for more innovative strategies to be adopted to enable people to claim asylum without the need for recourse to people smugglers, such as for EU embassies to provide refugee status determination services. In particular she highlighted that half of the refugees from Syria are under 18, many of whom have had no education for 3 or 4 years (a situation likely to continue for the foreseeable future), and that we could therefore be looking at a lost generation of Syria youth.