The number of Syrian refugees seeking to enter Europe is growing every day, presenting a very challenging situation for the countries on the border. In order to help bring more attention to this situation and explore ways that Europe can respond to this crisis, which is the largest exodus of refugees since the Second World War, the Observatory of International Relations at Universidad Europea organized a day-long session titled, “The Refuges Crisis: Europe’s Perspective.” National and international leaders participated in the session, which focused on how Europe should respond.
The opening of the event was led by Eugenio Nasarre, president of the Spanish Federal Council for Europe, who stated, “Europe was not prepared for a crisis of this size and complexity.” He confirmed that faced with this situation, Europe needs to work together to help find a solution and avoid having each member country doing their own thing. He stated he was confident that Europe has the ability to help resolve the crisis.
Enrique Barón, former president of the European Parliament, presented a geopolitical view of the situation. In his opinion, Europe is surrounded by globally relevant conflicts and wars. He stated that, “We do not find ourselves being invaded, but on the receiving end of a group of people seeking a better life in Europe. In Spain, immigration has been a great thing. It has rejuvenated the population and helped support development. Without it, we would be much worse off.” At the same time, he acknowledged that all countries need to be part of the solution and help reduce the impact on those along the borders of Europe, like Hungary.
According to Ramiro Muñiz, member of the Spanish Commission for Helping Refugees (CEAR), “The right of asylum is a human right, which protected by law and is not a gesture of altruism. Today more than 60 million have been forced from their homes around the world, and an estimated 53 percent are from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.” Muñiz highlighted the work that has been done to resettle many of those who have entered Europe.
This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.