According to UNHCR figures released this week, the number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe has surged this year to more than 300,000, and some 2,500 have died or gone missing. Some 200,000 have landed in Greece, and a further 110,000 in Italy.
European leaders exchanged harsh words on Monday over who is to blame for the growing refugee crisis, calling an emergency summit to meet on 14 September to discuss a solution to the rapidly escalating refugee and migrant crisis. Professor Alexander Betts spoke to Michael Birnbaum of the Washington Post about the unpredictable and unilateral policies of many European countries, which have contributed to many refugees’ willingness to use smuggler to move them to their destinations out of sight from authorities.
In the article, ‘E.U. leaders show little unity ahead of emergency conclave on refugees’, published yesterday, Professor Betts said: “The only people who benefit from unilateralism are the smugglers... About the only area where there’s consensus in Europe is that the current system is dysfunctional.”