The Migrants

According to a report from Reuters over 800,000 migrants claimed asylum in Europe between January and September, 2015.  It is estimated that by the end of the year this figure will have reached 1 million, not a small number.  This is the biggest migration of people in Europe since WWII.

Surprisingly only about one third claimed they were Syrians, followed by Afghanis and Iraqis.  This is important since it is becoming clearer that EU regulations will only accept those as legitimate asylum seekers who are coming from zones of conflict.   About one quarter of all migrants are considered to be economic migrants who do not qualify for asylum in the EU.  These unfortunate people are gradually being denied entry into various countries and are massing at the borders, not being allowed in to continue their exodus northwards.  They cannot return, so they will have to be expelled back to their own countries, not a small task when there are ca. 200,000 of them, mostly from Pakistan, Bangladesh and various African countries.  The African migrants have come across the Mediterranean mostly from Libya to Italy.

Although these migrants seem poverty-stricken and desperate, most of them are in fact relatively well-off and middle class, since it costs on average ca. $3,000 to pay for the passage across from Turkey to one of the Greek islands (usually Lesbos) by boat or dinghy.  Then there are other bribes that they have to pay to various border guards and customs officers to allow them thru to continue their journey north.  On average it is estimated to cost ca. $5,000 for the journey for a single person, much above the amount that any Syrian peasant could afford.  So most of the Syrian migrants are mainly professional and middle class people, doctors, pharmacists, businessmen, lawyers, etc. who are leaving their devastated country where nothing works anymore in order to find a better life in Germany or Sweden, in other words economic migrants.  There are also many young men among them, seeking their fortune, and also those who are being paid by the Islamic State to infiltrate Europe and then carry out terrorist attacks.  The attacks in Paris prove that this is the case where several of the terrorists used this route as an easy and undetectable way for them to enter Europe.

How the EU will deal with this intractable problem of the flood of foreign asylum seekers and economic migrants and will cope with the task of returning a large proportion of them, will test the stability of the EU itself.

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