Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The RSC Director discusses the EU refugee crisis on BBC Radio 4's Today programme

On Saturday’s Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Professor Alexander Betts provided some clarity to counter the assertion made by Steven Woolfe, UKIP’s migration spokesman and MEP, that: “the European Parliament…is seeking a common asylum policy which extends that definition [of refugee] to effectively include those who are coming from poorer countries or just in economic difficulty… the definition of those who should be able to come is to change and Juncker made that as part of the common asylum policy.”

Professor Betts said “I think Mr Woolfe is slightly misrepresenting this. Jean-Claude Juncker has never suggested a renegotiation of the definition of a refugee to include people fleeing economic deprivation. Actually… in many ways Angela Merkel and the German position is absolutely in conformity with international refugee law. They are providing people with the opportunity to seek asylum, as all states who are signatories to the ’51 Convention have an obligation to do… what’s happening in much of the rest of Europe is that states are not fulfilling their obligations and commitments to that because they are denying asylum seekers the right to seek asylum and claim refugee status.”

Listen to the full discussion here >>

Related content

Alexander Betts People

Five history lessons in how to deal with a refugee crisisNews & Media

Welcoming refugees can make economic sense News & Media

Syrian refugees and diaspora must be supported for the long-term future of Syria News & Media

The EU refugee crisis: 'What we need is collective action' News & Media