The EU refugee crisis: 'What we need is collective action'
- 1 September 2015
- Media coverage
Professor Alexander Betts is interviewed on Amanpour, CNN
Oxford “leads the charge on studying this timely issue”
Last night, Professor Alexander Betts appeared on Amanpour, CNN International's flagship global affairs interview programme, to discuss the current European refugee crisis. Here he argued that “Europe is showing itself to be uncaring about the lives of refugees, and people are dying here in Europe as a result of our political choices... what we need is collective action. We need it urgently.”
Professor Betts called for a strong political vision for refugee policy in Europe “both on a global level and on a regional level.” Europe needs “to engage in enhancing refugee protection in countries that neighbour conflict and crisis, where 95% of the world’s refugees are, in the countries of origin. Secondly, it needs a new deal on responsibility sharing within Europe… That requires political leadership that is sorely lacking.” Regarding the numbers of refugees crossing into Europe, Professor Betts stated that with collective action, responsibility sharing for the hosting of these 300,000 refugees across 28 European countries should be manageable. He argued that politicians are failing to take “the moral courage necessary to articulate to their populations and electorates why we need burden-sharing and responsibility.”
Professor Betts emphasised that research undertaken by the Refugee Studies Centre shows the economic benefits and contributions that refugees can make to a host economy. As ordinary human beings with skills, talents, and aspirations, they are often entrepreneurial, creating both businesses and jobs. He highlighted that recent RSC research shows “that in a country where [refugees] have the right to work and freedom of movement, they create significant numbers of jobs for host nationals… and that applies around the world.”