Expert Voices: How can Europe better help Syria’s refugees?

Earlier this month, the UNHCR announced Syria’s refugee population had reached a staggering three million, now the largest refugee population in the world. The bulk of refugees are resettled or in camps in neighbouring countries, mainly Lebanon and Jordan. Syrians taking the incredibly treacherous journey to Europe by foot or by boat, face complex and varying immigration policies. As the refugee crisis worsens, many fear that Europe’s slow and uneven reaction will exacerbate the strain on states in the Middle East. As part of our ‘Expert Voices’ series, Multimedia Editor, Cheryl Brumley, asked four high-profile experts for their thoughts on what Europe should be doing to help ease the crisis: EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Humanitarian Crises, Kristalina Georgeiva, the European University Institute’s Philippe Fargues, UNHCR representative, Andrej Mahecic, and Iliana Savova from the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee.

Kristalina Georgieva – EU Commissioner Humanitarian Aid

“We can help the refugees best by working for a peace settlement which will allow them to return home”


Philippe Fargues – European University Institute

“Europe must help local actors to create jobs that will transform the burden of protracted refugees”


Andrej Mahecic – UNHCR

“There is something profoundly wrong when people who are fleeing one of the worst conflicts in recent decades, are forced to take rickety boats from Northern Africa as the only way for them to reach safety in Europe.” 


Iliana Savova – Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

“What seems to be happening instead is that there’s an ever-growing divide between two halves of Europe where the rich North is merely paying out the poorer South to keep the refugees in Europe’s periphery, or in Bulgaria’s case  – outside at any cost.”


This article was originally published at the London School of Economics’ EUROPP blog.


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