Only a Member State willing to accommodate refugees should introduce a resettlement mechanism in the European Union – the head of the UNHCR said in a German interview in Thursday.
In an interview with Filippo Grandi in Handelsblatt, in an interview on the issue of asylum around the EU, he stressed that “we are always talking about a European refugee crisis that does not exist in this form”.
He believed a refugee crisis was elsewhere, such as in Lebanon, Pakistan, Kenya or Colombia. Europe, on the other hand, “is obsessed with a crisis that stems from the distorted political reality,” and thus “does not even see where the most refugees are.”
He raised: why is UNCHR continuing to run its programs with 50 percent under-financing? He added: Europe can not provide adequate resources to “tackle crises” on the spot.
“We should argue about this instead of arguing for some of the ships,” said the Italian diplomat.
He stressed that immigration of refugees “unfortunately often is a major problem, though the number of arrivals has declined sharply” in Europe. This is “making it difficult to find solutions”.
The “constant problematization of asylum” forms the atmosphere of fear and even hostility, which is “very dangerous”. The result of this activity is a “vicious circle: empowerment enhances migration, making it even more difficult to find solutions,” said Filippo Grandi.
He stressed that in 2005 there were “very many people coming in” and Europe’s preparedness was not right, but now it is “absolutely manageable”, so it is necessary to develop the mechanisms that Europe needs for a possible new wave of refugees.
As he said, he hopes that at least some EU members accept UNCHR’s and IOM’s proposal to release ships carrying asylum seekers rescued from the Mediterranean by ports, an expedited procedure should be used to examine who needs protection , and these people have to be divided between the countries willing to accept it.
He underlined that it would be good if the EU were to come to a common solution, but it is apparent that the mandatory distribution of refugees across all Member States is “not working”. However, if some Member States team up and create a system, “others hopefully follow them later”.
The leader of the UNHCR among others has also said that he is rejecting the idea of North African reception centers for people shipped to the Mediterranean. As you said, as a leader of the UN asylum organization, you can not support a proposal that “deprives people of their right to seek refuge in Europe”.
There are people who “have very strong reasons to seek protection in the EU,” he added. There are other options, such as relocating people in need of extra protection, but “numbers are too low to be a real alternative to smugglers,” said Filippo Grandi.