Why Millions of People Are Trying to Reach Europe
Almost 60 million people are fleeing conflict
According to the United Nations, conflict has pushed nearly 60 million people from their homes. Record numbers of people are fleeing countries such as Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria for the chance at a better life somewhere else.
Increasingly, those people turn to Europe. It’s close, it’s stable and it’s relatively easy to enter. But bureaucratic immigration institutions, political resistance in Europe and old cultural fears have kept millions of migrants from finding a new home.
But some European countries — such as Hungary and Macedonia — don’t want foreigners at all, even if it’s just to pass through. As Europe builds more walls and the wars people flee become more horrifying, the migrants become more desperate.
People fleeing conflict will pay upwards of a thousand dollars for a space on a crowded boat ride across the Mediterranean. All the walls and guns in Europe won’t stop millions of terrified, hungry people.
Robert Young Pelton is the author of The World’s Most Dangerous Places and founder of Migrant Report, a site dedicated to tracking the movement of people displaced by conflict. According to Pelton, the massive exodus of people from conflict zones will change the world and set European policy for the next decade.
“[Europe] is viewing this influx — something like a quarter of a million people came across by sea — as an invasion,” he explains. On this week’s War College, Pelton walks us through the realities of the migrant crisis, dispels its most pernicious myths and illuminates the human face of the displaced.
For further reading: