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EU Global Strategy Expert Opinion No.11 – Yezid Sayigh

01 February 2016
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The response of EU member states to the arrival of over one million refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants in 2015 helped stabilise the immediate crisis. But while expedient, the measures they took are mostly palliative, temporary fixes that leave the EU largely in a reactive mode. More needs to be done. The refugee crisis is likely to continue or worsen, but even if it does not its scope and scale already mean that its consequences will take many more years to be overcome.

This issue needs to feature prominently in the EU’s Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy (EUGS) if it is to meet the challenge. But for this, it must stop thinking of each refugee crisis as a short-term ‘emergency’, and replace its narrow focus on providing humanitarian assistance with policy responses based on a better understanding of the long-term drivers and trends of those crises and focused on sustainable development rather than emergency relief.