“The evidence is irrefutable. Migrants in general and in every country in Europe make greater fiscal contributions than they take in benefits,” UN Special Representative for International Migration Peter Sutherland explained.
Sutherland lauded the approach taken by countries such as Germany and Sweden, while calling out those states which have taken a much more restrictive line towards refugee and migrant intake.
“Some of heads of governments have said, yes we will take refugees, as long as they’re Christians. What century are they living in?” he asked.
While highlighting the positives these communities can bring to host-nations, in particular those whose dwindling work force will struggle to sustain an ageing population, Sutherland warned that contrary to current narratives, migrant populations do not represent terrorist threats.
“The handful of those who have been involved in terrorism in Europe have in general been born and brought up in Europe,” he reminded.
“The developed country reaction, particularly the European reaction, has been a massive focus of attention and for some reason. Because lurking behind some of the responses, not all, has been an incipient nationalism which is evidenced in xenophobic and often racist reactions,” the Irish official added.
Migrant flows have put enormous pressure on countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, but also Greece and Italy.
Despite adverse winter conditions inflows of refugees and migrants into Europe have shown no sign of abating as the year enters its second month.
International Organisation for Migration (IOM) figures reveal that 68,778 maritime arrivals were recorded in Greece and 5,898 in Italy since the start of 2016.
In the first four days of February alone, 7,483 maritime arrivals were registered, a significant rise from February 2015 arrival figures which stood at 6,834 for the entire month.
“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this is the year of migration and multilateralism and if it isn’t, it should be, because as we all know the world is facing a political crisis, a moral crisis, an economic crisis and a social crisis all of which are intimately connected with the issue of migration,” said Sutherland. Enditem