Events - 12.05.2016 - 00:00 

Migration: the bigger picture

With the human catastrophe unfolding in Europe, the St. Gallen Symposium puts migration in context.

13 May 2016. A St. Gallen Symposium panel discussion provided distinct perspectives on the migration crisis from specialists in different fields. Fabrice Leggeri is an expert in cross-border traffic, borders and visas. His company, Frontex, is responsible for protecting the external borders of Europe and the Schengen area, the 26-country passport-free EU region. On migration, his perspective embraces a practical nature.

Leggeri was asked if he thought Europe is facing a migration crisis. The crisis isn’t European, he said, but in fact is taking place in the European neighbourhood, which has an effect on Europe. He pointed out that Europe in 2015 saw 1.8 million irregular border crossings and this has acted as a stress test for the Schengen area borders.

Short-term solutions

Dr. Dambisa Moyo, an economist and author who researches the interplay of international business and the global economy, took a broader, more systemic look at the causes of migration. She especially focused on political migration of massive numbers of people from places like Syria and the Middle East. She believes that “disorderly migration will continue as long as governments focus on short-term solutions.”

Topic leader Christoph Frei from the University of St.Gallen noted that a call for systemic change sounds good, but wanted to know what could be could be done as a practical matter. Leggeri said that he believes that migration management is a much larger issue than border-security management and that focusing only on border controls is not the solution to migration problems. He also stated that all EU and Schengen area member states must take an active role for refugees.

Fair policies

Moyo said nations should be aspire to create a world, through politics and economies, that can support and develop emerging countries so that people are not tempted to flee their homeland in the hopes of a better life. She called for open markets and creation of a fair world.

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