Refugee Crisis: The Unfinished Agenda for 2021

Over the course of 2020, the focus on pandemic-related news and the U.S. presidential election largely overshadowed coverage of the refugee and other humanitarian crises in the world. However, the dramatic worsening of the situation in Greece and Bosnia toward the end of year, as winter set in, set alarm bells ringing on the need to finally take action.

While the delivery of humanitarian supplies is slowly improving to the main refugee hotspots in Kara Tepe (on the Greek island of Lesbos) with 7,500 refugees, and in Lipa (central Bosnia) with another 1,000, the “arrangements” the EU worked out with governments in West Africa have been a failure. Indeed, the scheme involved giving money to those governments so that they, in turn, could bribe human trafficking networks into reducing the flow of refugees. But a new route has recently emerged leading from there to the Spanishowned Canary Islands, with thousands having already perished in the turbulent waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

The problem with the EU approach is obvious: it ignores the glaring need to help develop the economies of the countries which the migrants are fleeing. If the Europeans were to commit to building transportation systems, fresh water supply facilties and sewage systems, and to providing hospitals, schools, and vocational training programs, future perspectives for young Africans would look very different.

There are several great projects that could be launched quickly, including the Transaqua project which is focused on the region between Lake Chad and the Congo River (as we have repeatedly covered), and the Trans-African Railroad joining the the east and west coasts of the continent. (An important side effect would be to eradicate the traditional breeding areas of locusts, which again threaten to destroy harvests in eastern Africa

Granted, this would require enormous investments. But even if judged in purely pecuniary terms, it would cost less to provide a good job and decent living conditions for potential migrants in their home regions, than to subsidize them in Europe. In addition, if only a fraction of the hundreds of billions of euros which the European Commission intends to pour into “saving the climate” (in reality, saving the banks, cf. above) were spent on real economic development in Africa, it would have a tremendous effect. The same is true for other countries, be it Afghanistan, Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Much of what needs to be done is documented and explained in special reports which EIR and the Schiller Institute have published and presented in international conferences over the past years, while the Belt and Road Initiative proposes additional options. The challenge, of course, is to bring Europe into such a new paradigm. The special reports can be ordered at

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