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The hottest topic in Europe yet....


mint

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You are right Mint. This topic is certainly the elephant in the room.

The lack of discussion is maybe because no one has any real answer.

There are perhaps two extremes:

On the one hand our humanity says we should do something and help the individuals out of their awful plight. The problem (as Angela Merkel has found) is that doing this does not solve the problem. It just causes more people in a similar situation to risk all and try to get to Europe.

Add to that, that amongst the genuine refugees there seem to be a number of economic migrants and even a few terrorists bent on destroying our way of life, and you can see why people are put off this as a solution - despite their humanity.

The other tack is to say, this is not our civil war/persecution. It is not our problem and we will pull up the drawbridge and hope the problem will go away. I doubt it will personally.

During the pogroms of the 19th and early 20th century, America was in a position to offer succour to the refugees -

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

America was in a position to take these people and absorb them then. Today the number of countries that could do so is more limited. Russia springs to mind, but who would want to go there and who would accept them into the country?

In most of us I think there is an element of the two extremes humanity/self interest in varying degrees. What I think though in all of us is an inability to see a lasting solution.

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Thank you, Andy, for your post.

Although it might sound a strange thing to say, I really enjoyed reading it.  Definitely rouses conflicting emotions in me and I, too, have a job to say which feeling is uppermost.

I do think, however, that the crisis will skew the results of the referendum in the UK.  There will be many who think that if we left Europe, the refugees would go away and would no longer be our problem.

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On UK tv there is the likes of Bill Nighy and Michael Sheen begging for money for the refugees from Syria.

And yet Darfur is still there with all it's problems and not a word.

Me, I don't want them, not one of them, at all.

You see, there are already people who have arrived somewhere on this island and have over the last year or so, maybe longer, being bused in to this region and given homes in a nearby town and benefits. And yet, I know locals who cannot get decent accommodation, sadly I know some who cannot get the council to help them at all and are in terrible places........ nor can they get the help they need, proper help and training to get jobs, as the nature of work has changed in this region. AND maybe once my own have been treat with respect and fairly, then I shall give people who I feel should have stayed and fought for their 'own' land some thought.

I realise that others may well have very different views and that is fair enough.  I have nothing against you taking them in to your homes and being completely responsible, in every way, but mostly financially including paying for their health care, until they are completely settled and speaking good english, or whatever native language is spoken in that bit of the british isles.

My heart aches for locals at the moment.

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Personally I an with Manuel Valls in that Europe cannot take all these peoples and keep its current integrity. The EU should, IMO, establish and pay for a camp at the border with Turkey and put them all there, to be returned when the conflict ends. I am not convinced that the massive influx is the anwer to Europes prayer to top up the lack of young workers as the majority will have to be supported by indivual countries for a long time before they are in a postion to contribute, if ever.

No easy answers.
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"I do think, however, that the crisis will skew the results of the

referendum in the UK.  There will be many who think that if we left

Europe, the refugees would go away and would no longer be our problem."

Mint, I agree, and it worries me.  Evidently we all know that there are problems in the EU, and that much could and probably should be done, but the UK leaving the EU will not stop the migrants wanting to get to the UK, and the laws will most likely stop any rejection of true refugees (and would we want that - it is certainly the duty of all countries to help true refugees).

It seems to me that the whole situation of refugees from Syria (and I am not going to get into the discussion of right and wrong and what we should do with that country here), is confused with the flood of economic migrants after all the turmoil of the various "revolutions" of the last few years. 

The one should be helped, the other "persuaded" that life is not always better in that little island so far across the sea, or indeed, in many another country closer too it.  But how you solve it - well I really do not know!

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Unless the respective governments can come up with a workable strategy that puts paid to these scum of the earth who are making MILLIONS of euros from providing the means for refugees to enter Europe, there will be no solution.

And if a safe, workable solution were to be found for people to leave Syria (or anywhere else) without having to resort to using these means, then perhaps (a BIG perhaps) some form of controlled resettlement could take place, which would also leave these refugees with some financial means to finance the start of a better life.

After all, paying a people trafficker over 2000 Euros when a flight from Damascus to London costs under £500 just doesn't make sense..... Which doesn't necessarily mean it's possible, or that I think it should be done.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/24/libyas-people-smugglers-how-will-they-catch-us-theyll-soon-move-on
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Andy's post more or less expresses my views - I'm torn between compassion for them, and thinking, modern Europe can't absorb those numbers.

Another point of view, from a friend, I partly agree with - those young men who come from wartorn countries should be at home, fighting for their families etc. Those from countires with famine are a different matter.

And Betty's point about the cost - yes, the trafficers are criminals, but where do the young migrants get the money from in the first place?

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Are we talking about economic migrants here or the refugee crisis? It's easy to confuse the two..and the media often does.

Lets start with economic migrants. Migrants from other EU countries can legally enter Britain to search for work and live, in the same way that I came to France. They are not the people camping rough it Calais because if they were they would legally be entitled to get on the boat and ferry. The free movement of its citizens is a fundamental principle of the EU, and something that Switzerland, Norway and Iceland has also had signed up to, to benefit from the favourable trade arrangements they get from being part of the broader European economic area. In or out of the EU.. the free movement of European nationals could only be limited if the UK were to distance itself from the entire European economic area.

Then you have economic migrants who are not from an EU country but to emigrate to one where they feel they will have a better quality of life. There have always been people wishing to do this..many find legal ways to immigrate, and some end up paying people to try to get in illegally. On a smaller scale, the migrant camps at Calais have been there about 20 years, so this is not new. It has mostly been young men and many want to go to the UK because they have family there, they speak the language, and the people smugglers and the tabloid press tell them that they can arrive in the UK and get a council house and benefits and that there are plenty of jobs. They would still be there even if the UK was not in the EU.

Then I think you have the current humanitarian crisis caused by civil war and unrest in the middle east. Families who have lost everything feeling they have nothing left to loose . Many of those currently in Calais fall into this group, and for them I feel nothing but compassion. Why would I treat a fellow human being worse than my dog?

Now I don't know whether the majority of those voting in the EU referendum will be able to understand the difference or not. If not then maybe they will get the UK they deserve.
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I understand the antipathy to do anything for refugees when a country cannot (or perhaps more accurately, will not) look after its own.

I agree with Vals that even Europe as a whole is not in a position to look after all of the refugees. However to simply say send them back to the refugees camps in Turkey (+Jordan, the Lebanon etc) misses the point. Many of the refugees have not just arrived in Europe from Aleppo or whichever city. Most have already spent many months in the camps. Camps where they are not allowed to work, where medical and educational facilities are at best limited. These people lose heart there and leave. What is going to keep them there if they are sent back? Of course you could lock them in and turn the refugee camp into an internment camp! That seems a tad harsh.

So we (Europe) would need to completely overturn the structure and rules for the refugees camps - and despite promises of cash, I see no evidence that this is a direction that is being progressed.

My greatest fear of the camps as they are today, is that they will result in a deprived generation of young Muslims, who will be ripe for the next generation of terrorists.

Vows have been given by several governments to go after the traffickers. The results so far............ What should be easy seems not to be. If these are indeed mechanisms to fund Al-Qaeda, IS and organised crime, then breaking the rings will be very tough.

The idea of persuading the young men to return and fight has its attractions; just so long as you believe that every refugee is fleeing from IS.

The reality is much more complex with Kurds fleeing Sunni militia, Shias fleeing IS, Sunnis fleeing Shia militia and just about all combinations therefrom. Send them back and they will be fighting one another.

It is equally probable that a number of these young male refugees are refugees precisely because they will not fight (for anybody) believing that this will solve nothing.

For all the good suggestions there are major problems and issues - and few seem to be being addressed.
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Lindal said!  Now I don't know whether the majority of those voting in the EU

referendum will be able to understand the difference or not. If not then

maybe they will get the UK they deserve.

Do not know what to make of that statement.

Deserve?????? What on earth would we deserve if we reject the EU? I have been appalled for years with the direction the EU has been going. Hate it. And I moved to France when one had to jump through a lot of hoops. So the move was always possible and I daresay it would remain so even IF the UK left, or maybe Scotland won't.

And why if France is so bloody wonderful are they risking life and limb and camping out in The Jungle 'Calais' to cross the channel????? Just why do they ALL say, that they 'must' get out of France.

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Lindal said!  "Now I don't know whether the majority of those voting in the EU

referendum will be able to understand the difference or not. If not then

maybe they will get the UK they deserve"

Blimey just how pompous is that statement.

 The people of the UK will get what they want when they vote, it's called democracy. I sometimes wonder how it is that leaving the UK and settling in France, gives some people the idea that they know much more about what is good for the UK than the UK residents. Still don't worry; as the fact that you live in a French utopia where everything is perfect means you'll be OK. Although the fact that most of the economic migrants in Calais don't seem to have that mindset, does shoot that idea down a tad . [:D]

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You can make of that statement whatever you wish. I too will be voting in the referendum and participating in the democratic process. I do sometimes despair of the narrow minded attitude that I see in my fellow countrymen, and viewing it from France I sometimes think that the UK lives up to the stereotypes put on it by the rest of the world, (zenophobic, narrow minded, self centred, Island mentality) and I can see why the rest of Europe might be so frustrated they just tell them to s*d off and get on with it. Of course when I visit the UK it usually reassures me because fortunately those views and attitudes do not prevail.

Just to be clear..the Uk already controls it's own borders, can opt out of any decisions about the numbers of migrants or refugees it takes,.. in fact it has opted out of many of the key bits of EU legislation. So in or out of the EU it won't reduce the numbers of people wanting to go there. As to why they feel that the UK will be better..well the Tabloids, the people smugglers and everyone else tell them they will be welcomed..whereas the reality is if they are accepted as refugees in France they will actually be entitled to more money... many have existing family in the UK and most speak English (which is a dam sight better than many of the English immigrants that live in France who would not meet Theresa May's new language test should it be required of them from the French)

Someone asked earlier where the refugees were getting their money from.. well from the contacts I have from people working in Calais and Dunkirk, those that have fled Syria and Iraq are for the most part young professionals..so doctors, artists, musicians, teachers and they just salvaged what they could and fled. Many have lost their families and homes and many are suffering from post traumatic stress.

Just as well the USA didn't demonise Steve Job's father when he fled Syria all those years ago and shove him on a boat back to where he came from.

I'm sort of not bothered about in or out of the EU for UK now.. We have a plan in case it happens and I just think whatever will be will be. I just feel really sorry for whatever government is left to negotiate the exit as they will end up being the scapegoats for the financial chaos that follows (that's just my opinion)
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[quote user="lindal1000"] I do sometimes despair of the narrow minded attitude that I see in my fellow countrymen, and viewing it from France I sometimes think that the UK lives up to the stereotypes put on it by the rest of the world, (zenophobic, narrow minded, self centred, Island mentality) . Of course when I visit the UK it usually reassures me because fortunately those views and attitudes do not prevail. [/quote]

 

And its the immigrants in great part that we have to thank for the modern majority having a wider view.

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[quote user="Chancer"]Come back Quillan, all is forgiven, Nick misses you dreadfully [:D][/quote]

Chancer nobody misses a racist, although I would like him to see this quote from lindall.

"many have existing family in the UK and most speak English (which is a

dam sight better than many of the English immigrants that live in France

who would not meet Theresa May's new language test should it be

required of them from the French)

"

As he argued that Brits who relocated and lived permanently in France, weren't immigrants but ex-pats. Never mind; as he's no longer here he's obviously got more time to do the washing up and the laundry? So his customers should benefit. [:D]

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Chancer wrote,

And its the immigrants in great part that we have to thank for the modern majority having a wider view.

And the great contribution they made in Paris on 15th November should also be remembered.

130 murdered including one of my sons friends, just as long as the right wing don't use it against them I guess you are happy.

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Unlike Lindal, I don't believe that people can't tell the difference between refugees seeking asylum and economic migrants looking for a better life.

I believe that, quite often, the lines of distinction are blurred.  When tens of thousands turn up day after day (or not if they drowned in the Med), it's near impossible to keep track of numbers, nevermind establish their "status" as belonging to one group or the other.  Please note that I used the term "les migrants" in my initial post advisedly.

I am sadly pessimistic about the outcome of this crisis for "Europe" as a political concept.  How can any club, however cosy, carry on existing when the majority of its members no longer believe in or abide by its rules?  First, it's the UK wanting to limit benefits, then it's Denmark wanting to make their country "less attractive", next it's someone else not wanting to accept migrant quotas.

No need to angst about your futures in France, folks!  I think "Europe" is disintegrating before our very eyes.  What reforms can possibly be cobbled together now when there is no longer any real concensus?

On the level of individual countries within Europe, the migrant crisis itself has been divisive.  I don't say that it's the migrants who are the sole cause of the imminent demise of Europe but they have certainly hastened it, a catalyst if ever there is one.

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Blimey Mint! Do you want to blame the demise of Europe on migrants! Quite an irony. Surely the 'blame' is not the migrants themselves but the inability of the EU to deal with it in a coherent way.. that is a crisis however you look at it. Someone sent round a thing on facebook the other day with a picture of a dog outside in the snow and a phrase saying. 'if it's too cold for you outside then it's too cold for me', asking people to bring their dog indoors. It's a pity that people can't feel the same compassion for other human beings. I'm sure if dogs were being loaded into boats and pushed out into the sea on a rough night everyone would be up in arms, but when it's people everyone seems either indifferent or powerless.

I hope people can tell the difference between a refugee, a migrant, and a terrorist but I agree it isn't promising.. when even the BBC doesn't seem to be able to differentiate.

I think there was a change after the Paris attacks.. France is still in a state of emergency and the borders are still closed..but that hasn't stopped people coming in which just goes to show what a red herring border control is.
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I don't say that it's the migrants who are the sole cause of the

imminent demise of Europe but they have certainly hastened it, a

catalyst if ever there is one.

Naughty Lindal!  You are deliberately misquoting me.  That is the statement I used.  Of course the migrants, on their own, cannot cause the collapse of Europe.

A catalyst, if I remember science lessons at primary school, is something that precipitates a reaction in other elements when added to the mix but which itself does not change.

As you say, it's partly a lack of preparation and coherent policy at interstate level for the migrant influx.  After all, they have had years of knowing this was likely to happen.

Where do I say I have no compassion towards them?  How is it possible to be indifferent to the hardship of so many?

Only a few weeks ago, I sent clothing, cooking equipment, warm clothes and dozens of pairs of clean, laundered socks to the camp in Calais.  Do I think those men should be there?  No, I don't; I just wanted to do my little bit ,when the opportunity arose, to make less unbearable, if only in a tiny, tiny way, the misery of life there.

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Aren't refugees asylum seekers??????

And Ethiopia has the worst drought in 50 years. Pity Bob Geldof's efforts meant that a population that could not feed themselves in the 1980's decided to have a population explosion and surprise surprise cannot feed themselves now they have over twice as many people to feed approx 40 million to 99 million. Is this my fault, no it isn't.

And for all this war in the middle east has been going on for several years, there are still babies being born and babies and toddlers being carted from one horrific place to another. Like getting pregnant is a good idea, and that is down to irresponsible adults, sadly probably the men rather than the women, although I blame both and that too is not my fault.

The big picture!

And UK bashing, go ahead Lindal, won't make France any better than it is, because both countries have problems, always have had. The bad may not be the same in both countries but from what my friends in France and son tells me, it is probably 'worse' there at the moment........ but what do they know? Obviously nothing!

I know about problems in the UK, it does not make it a bad place to live for the majority of the population, in fact most people have a pretty good standard of life here, but that is just what I see and hear and what do I know? Obviously nothing!

And this bashing is a throw back to the early days I was on this board, when all things in France were bright and beautiful and the UK the most dreadful place on the planet and yet, many of those posters....... strangely........ moved back! It irritated me then and it irritates me now. I was firmly ensconced in french life 'then' and moving back to the UK was perfectly fine, because I am a realist and know no where is perfect. I personally probably have a better life in England that I would if I had stayed in France, maybe if we had moved to a city again, then it would have been on a par..... but we didn't do that.

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On the contrary Idun.. I'm not bashing the Uk.. I still have a lot of interests there and on the whole I like it..What I like about it is that on the whole people are tolerant, non racist, get on with things and that people of all colours creeds and races seem to actually work quite well together.. What I don't like is the image that is portrayed by politicians and the media that it's all dreadful, that we have 'no room for foreigners' , that we 'want to be alone' etc. The longer you are away the more powerful these messages seem to become and so I can understand why Europe gets frustrated with the Uk. Of course France, Uk or any other country is not perfect..far from it..

Ebaynut.. I know you say some things tongue in cheek, but of course that is the message that is given out when people feel more compassion for dogs than other people. And Mint I wasn't saying you or any other individual lacks compassion.. I feel that if we, as a society, allow ourselves to go down a route where it is okay to place a higher value on the life of a dog than the life of a human then we have well and truly lost our souls and may as well have just let all the world's despots, terrorists, ethnic cleansers get on with it. Mind you, at the beginning of the second world war the UK turned back boats carrying Jewish refugees fleeing the holocaust, so I guess we have history in that respect.

An Asylum seeker is someone who flees a country to seek a place of safety, or asylum. They are not necessarily seeking to live somewhere else permanently. They are a refugee when their request for asylum has been approved.

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Linda mentioned the Holocaust - reminds me of an item on the news today, Denmark is debating a new law, that refugees etc entering the country are to be stripped of their valuables (except for things like weddiing rings.) Which is what happened to the Jews at the concentration camps.

Pretty horrific - may be they think of it as a deterrent.[:(]

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