TIME Economy

Europe’s Economic Band-Aid Won’t Cure What Really Ails It

Prime Minister David Cameron Tries To Take A Harder Line with Europe
E.U. flags are pictured outside the European Commission building in Brussels on Oct. 24, 2014 Carl Court—Getty Images

Quantitative easing is a good start, but it won't fix the Continent's underlying wounds

Markets always love a money dump, which is why European stocks are now rallying on news that the European Central Bank will purchase 1.1 trillion worth of euro-denominated bonds between now and September 2016. Bond yields are dropping, implying less risk in the European debt markets. And the value of the euro itself is falling, which should make European exports more competitive, which could in turn bolster the European economy over all.

All good, right? For now, yes, it is all good.

But let’s remember that central bank quantitative easing (QE) of the kind that Europe is now embarking on is always just a Band-Aid on economic troubles, not a solution to underlying structural issues in a country (or in this case, a region). Just as the Fed’s $4 trillion QE money dump bolstered the markets but didn’t fix the core problems in our economy—growing inequality, a high/low job market without enough work in the middle, flat wages, historically low workforce participation—so the ECB QE will excite markets for a while, but it won’t mend the problems that led Europe to need this program to begin with.

Those consist primarily of a debt crisis stemming from the lack of real political integration within the EU. Right now, Europe has a currency and an economic union that exists in a kind of fantasy land, with no underlying political unity. Until the Germans start acting more European (meaning creating a consumption society and realizing that they’ll have to do some fiscal transfers to struggling peripheral nations in exchange for the huge export benefits they get from the euro), and countries like Spain, Italy, Portugal and France start making the changes they really need (all the usual stuff—labor market reforms, cutting red tape, fighting corruption, opening up service markets), the debt crisis won’t go away.

Indeed, the challenge now is for countries is to use the breathing room that the ECB has given them to really come together over the next 18 months and make those reforms happen while committing to a truly integrated Europe. Germany should say it will unequivocally back peripheral nations financially in exchange for a promise of real reforms in those nations. (There should also be tough penalties for failure on both sides of the bargain.)

That will be tough for sure, but Europe will find itself in an even worse place come September 2016 if it doesn’t take action now. Post QE, without any real structural reform, the EU will simply have an even more bloated balance sheet, and the market will exact punishment for it. For a historical lesson on this, look to the many emerging market crises of the past where countries tried to spend themselves out of their problems without doing underlying reforms; it always ends in a stock market crash, a financial crisis, and plenty of tears.

The buck has stopped for Europe. The ECB has called policy makers’ bluff. It’s time to create a real United States of Europe to match the common currency.

TIME France

5 Facts That Explain the Charlie Hebdo Attack

People gather to pay respect for the victims of a terror attack against a satirical newspaper, in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.
People gather to pay respect for the victims of a terror attack against a satirical newspaper, in Paris on Jan. 7, 2015. Thibault Camus—AP

Immigration figures, unemployment numbers and an unpopular President all offer context to a terrorism attack

Wednesday’s attack on magazine Charlie Hebdo shocked France, but tensions with the country’s Muslim immigrant population have been building for years. It looks like these attacks were motivated by anger among Muslim militants that the newspaper had published cartoon images that mocked the Prophet Muhammad. There is no political or demographic trend that can explain such a cold-blooded murder, but the statistics below tell a disturbing story about how this crime will exacerbate already high tensions in France and across Europe, making life still more difficult for Muslim immigrants.

1. All-time highs for migration
Rising anti-immigration sentiment in France comes at a time of historic levels of human movement. There are now more than 50 million people around the world displaced by violence, the highest number at any time since World War II. All of this refugee movement is being felt along Europe’s borders. Frontex, the E.U.’s border agency, estimates that 270,000 people tried to enter Europe illegally last year, shattering the previous high of 141,000 in 2011, the year of the Arab Spring. In 2014, more than 3,000 migrants died in their attempts to reach Europe.

(Los Angeles Times, Frontex via CNN, Frontex via the Telegraph)

2. Painful economic realities … and misconceptions
Youth unemployment in France is over 24%. As high as that figure may be, another troubling statistic surpasses it. The average person in France believes that 31% of the population is Muslim; in reality, the figure is 7.7%. (Yet, even this much-smaller-than-believed Muslim population is still the largest in Europe.)

(Eurostat, IPSOS MORI, Bloomberg)

3. Anti-immigration goes mainstream
Approval for Marine Le Pen’s Front National, an anti-E.U., anti-immigration party, has steadily risen. In 2010, 18% in France said they agree with the party’s ideas. That number has grown each year since, reaching an all-time high of 34% in the most recent TNS Sofres poll. In European parliamentary elections back in May, the Front National took first place in France with 25% of the vote.

(TNS Sofres , Ifop via Le Figaro, BBC)

4. All-time lows for a French President
President François Hollande’s approval ratings have dipped as low as 12%, the lowest tally ever for a French President. (According to more recent figures, they’ve “rebounded” to 15%.) The President has pledged to step down and not seek re-election in 2017 if he can’t curb unemployment. Currently at 11%, the unemployment rate is almost higher than his approval ratings.

(BBC, France24)

5. Passports — and lack thereof
As of August 2013, France had the third longest wait time in Europe for immigrants seeking naturalization: an average of 14 years. According to U.S. counterterrorism officials, there are more than 3,000 ISIS recruits believed to hold Western passports.

(Los Angeles Times, France24)

TIME World

These Are the Top 10 Geopolitical Risks of 2015

Protesters hold a banner as they march during a demonstration against the visit of Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel on April 11, 2014 in Athens.
Protesters hold a banner as they march during a demonstration against the visit of Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel on April 11, 2014 in Athens. Milos Bicanski—Getty Images

TIME foreign affairs columnist Ian Bremmer provides a guide to the global storylines of the year, beginning with an unstable Europe

International stories rise and fall so quickly in today’s media. On Monday, it’s civil conflict in Ukraine. On Tuesday, it’s the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). By Wednesday, the headlines are on to something else. Amid the global whiplash, it’s easy to lose sight of the larger picture. So as the new year begins, it’s useful to take a broader look at where these stories are headed—and to track the next wave of market-moving surprises in international politics.

Every January Eurasia Group, the political risk consultancy I founded and oversee today, publishes Top Risks, a roundup of the geopolitical trends we consider most likely to change our world in the coming year. This ranking reflects our forecast of which global storylines are most likely to play out over the next 12 months, which will have biggest impact on the markets and politics—and where we can expect surprises.

In 2015, political conflict among the world’s great powers is in play more than at any time since the end of the Cold War. U.S. relations with Russia are now fully broken. China’s powerful President Xi Jinping is creating a new economy, and the effects will be felt across East Asia and the rest of the world. Geopolitical uncertainty has Turkey, the Gulf Arab states, Brazil and India hedging their bets.

But the year’s top risk is found in once placid Europe, where an increasingly fractured political environment is generating new sources of conflict.

1. The politics of Europe

European economics aren’t as bad as they were at the height of the eurozone crisis in 2012, but the politics of the continent are now much worse. Within key countries like Britain and Germany, anti-EU political parties continue to gain popularity, undermining the ability of governments to deliver on painful but needed reforms. Friction is growing among European states, as peripheral governments come to increasingly resent the influence of a strong Germany unchecked by weak France or absent Britain. Finally, a resentful Russia and an aggressive ISIS will add to Europe’s security worries.

2. Russia

Sanctions and lower oil prices have weakened Russia enough to infuriate President Vladimir Putin, but not enough to restrain his actions. Moscow will continue to put pressure on Ukraine, and as a result, U.S. and European sanctions will tighten. As Russia’s economy sags, Putin’s approval ratings will depend increasingly on his willingness to confront the West. Western companies and investors are likely targets—on the ground and in cyberspace.

3. The effects of China slowdown

China’s economic growth will slow in 2015, but it’s all part of Xi’s plan. His historically ambitious economic reform efforts depend on transitioning his country to a consumer-driven economic model that will demand levels of growth that are lower, but more sustainable. The continuing slowdown should have little impact inside China. But countries like Brazil, Australia, Indonesia and Thailand, whose economies have come to depend on booming trade with a commodity-hungry China, will feel the pain.

4. The weaponization of finance

For the moment, the American public has had enough of wars and occupations, but the Obama administration still wants to exert significant influence around the globe. That’s why Washington is weaponizing finance on a new scale. The U.S. is using carrots (access to capital markets) and sticks (varied types of sanctions) as tools of coercive diplomacy. The advantages are considerable, but there is a risk that this strategy will damage U.S. companies caught in the crossfire between Washington and targeted states. Transatlantic relations could suffer for the same reason.

5. ISIS, beyond Iraq and Syria

ISIS faces military setbacks in Iraq and Syria, but its ideological reach will spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa in 2015. It will grow organically by setting up new units in Yemen, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, and it will inspire other jihadist organizations to join its ranks—Ansar Bayt al Maqdas in Egypt and Islamists in Libya have already pledged allegiance to ISIS. As the militant group’s influence grows, the risk to Sunni states like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt will rise.

6. Weak incumbents

Feeble political leaders, many of whom barely won reelection last year, will become a major theme in 2015. Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos, South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan will each face determined opposition and formidable obstacles as they try to enact their political agendas.

7. The rise of strategic sectors

Global businesses in 2015 will increasingly depend on risk-averse governments that are more focused on political stability than on economic growth, supporting companies that operate in harmony with their political goals and punishing those that don’t. We’ll see this trend in emerging markets, where the state already plays a more significant role in the economy, as well as in rogue states searching for weapons to fight more powerful governments. But we’ll also see it in the U.S., where national security priorities have inflated the military industrial complex, which now includes technology, telecommunications and financial companies.

8. Saudi Arabia vs Iran

The rivalry between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia is the engine of conflict in the Middle East. Given the growing reluctance of Washington and other outside powers to intervene in the region, increasingly complex domestic politics within these two countries and rising anxiety about the ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, we can expect Tehran and Riyadh to use proxies to fuel trouble in more Middle Eastern countries than ever in 2015.

9. Taiwan/China

Relations between China and Taiwan will deteriorate sharply in 2015 following the opposition Democratic Progressive Party’s landslide victory over the ruling Nationalist Party in local elections this past November. If China decides that its strategy of economic engagement with Taiwan has failed to advance its ultimate goal of reunification, Beijing might well backtrack on existing trade and investment deals and significantly harden its rhetoric. The move would surely provoke public hostility in Taiwan and inject even more anti-mainland sentiment into the island’s politics. Any U.S. comment on relations between China and Taiwan would quickly increase resentment between Beijing and Washington.

10. Turkey

Lower oil prices have helped, but President Erdogan has used election victories in 2014 to try to sideline his political enemies—of which there are many—while remaking the country’s political system to tighten his hold on power. But he’s unlikely to win the authority he wants this year, creating more disputes with his prime minister, weakening policy coherence and worsening political unpredictability. Given the instability near Turkey’s borders, where the war against ISIS rages, that’s bad news. Refugees from Syria and Iraq are bringing more radicalism into the country and adding to economic hardship.

TIME European Union

European Court Rules That Obesity Could Be a Disability

The case was brought by a Danish man who weighs more than 350 pounds (160kg)

In a ruling delivered Thursday morning, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said “obesity can constitute a disability” for the purposes of equality at work legislation, the BBC reports.

The ECJ, Europe’s highest court, was asked earlier this year to consider the case of Karsten Kaltoft, a Danish childminder, who claimed he was fired by his local authority for being too overweight.

Judges said that if obesity could hinder “full and effective participation” at work then it could count as a disability. This means that if a person has a long-term impairment because of their obesity then they would be protected by disability legislation.

The ruling is binding across the E.U. but it is left up to the national courts to decide if someone’s obesity is severe enough to be classed as a disability. This is something the Danish court will now have to assess in Kaltoft’s case.

Important to the ruling is the European Court’s judgement that the origin of the disability did not matter, meaning that it is irrelevant if the person is obese because of overeating.

The judgement may mean that employers will have to start providing larger seats, special parking spaces and other facilities for obese workers.

[BBC]

TIME United Kingdom

British Prime Minister Sets Out New Migration Restrictions

Sir William Dugdale funeral
Prime Minister David Cameron arrives for the funeral of his uncle Sir William Dugdale at The Church of Our Lady in Merevale, Warwickshire on Nov. 28, 2014. Joe Giddens—PA/AP

David Cameron hopes his proposals will reverse the increase in migrants from European countries

David Cameron gave a long-awaited speech on immigration within the European Union (E.U.) on Friday, proposing new limits on welfare benefits and tax credits for migrants.

He outlined his objective as “to make our immigration system fairer and reduce the current exceptionally high level of migration from within the E.U. into the U.K.”

Under his plans, migrants who want to claim certain benefits from the U.K. would have to wait four years.

Cameron’s speech comes after months of negotiations within the British parliament and also with other European leaders, notably German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

MORE: Study says European migrants contribute $32 billion to the U.K.’s economy

His package of proposals will require signifiant changes to the current treaties that govern the European Union. The plans will go ahead only if Cameron is re-elected after May’s general elections.

A spokeswoman from the European Commissions has responded by saying the ideas are “part of the debate” and need to be “examined without drama.”

[BBC]

Read more: Pope urges ‘aged and weary’ Europe to accept migrants and reject hunger

 

TIME europe

Pope Urges ‘Aged and Weary’ Europe to Accept Migrants and Reject Hunger

Pope Francis delivers his speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on Nov. 25, 2014.
Pope Francis delivers his speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Nov. 25, 2014 Remy De La Mauviniere—AFP/Getty Images

The Pontiff uses address to the European Parliament to argue that migrants need "acceptance and assistance"

At many times in Europe’s turbulent history religious leaders have turned a blind eye to violence and discrimination. At other times faith itself has set the battleground. This awareness heightened both the strangeness and the poignancy of the Nov. 25 speech by Pope Francis to members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The Pontiff wasn’t the most obvious person to deliver hard truths to elected politicians about the rising threats to the democracies they serve, or, as head of the Catholic Church, to convey a blast against global corporations that undermine the democratic process by co-opting institutions, as he resonantly expressed it, to “the service of unseen empires.” Yet standing at the lectern at the center of the plenary chamber, peering through wire-rimmed reading glasses at his script, he did these things and more. The leader of a religion that has created its share of fractures made an eloquent plea for the European Union to rediscover its founding principles of “bridging divisions and fostering peace and fellowship.”

Many factors gave urgency to his words. Europe is grappling with soaring unemployment in the midst of global economic instability and the relentless problems of the euro zone. There is a war within its own borders while brutal conflicts on other continents affect the security of European nations and citizens. The interlocking challenges are compounded by voters’ dwindling trust in the political classes. In speaking to members of these classes, the Pope aimed, he said, “as a pastor to deliver a message of hope” to “a Europe that gives the impression of feeling aged and weary.” A glance around the chamber — built as a hemicycle to encourage members of the Parliament from different political groupings to see each other not as opponents but colleagues — reinforced just how timely that papal message was and the extent to which politicians have become, like the Catholic Church in its darker periods, part of the problem as well as its solution.

Pope Francis emphasized the centrality of human dignity and the equal value of every life. He did so to an assembly of 751 MEPs and other European officials that severely underrepresents the diversity of European populations — only 36.75% of lawmakers are women and only about 5% are from ethnic minorities — while substantially representing views that the Pope singled out for criticism. “One of the most common diseases in Europe, if you ask me, today is the loneliness of those who have no connection to others,” he said. This phenomenon could be observed among the isolated old and the alienated young, the poor and “in the lost gaze of the migrants who have come here in search of a better future.”

“Unity doesn’t mean uniformity,” the guest speaker told an audience overwhelmingly composed of middle-aged white men in suits. “In point of fact all real unity draws from the diversities that make it up.” To that audience he set out a list of priorities. It was, he ventured, “intolerable that people are dying each day of hunger while tons of food are thrown away each day from our tables.” He won a round of applause with a call “to promote policies that create employment but above all it is time to restore dignity to work by restoring proper working conditions.” He also highlighted Europe’s failure to achieve “a united response to the question of migration. We cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a vast graveyard. The boats landing daily on Europe’s shores are filled with men and women who need acceptance and assistance.”

Listening to him were members of mainstream parties who have contributed to that failure and representatives of fringe parties — now achieving such electoral success that they may not for much longer remain on the fringes — who are arguing for the dissolution of the European Union and the turning away of migrants. It seems unlikely that members of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), or France’s hard-right National Front party will have been swayed by his words any more than Ian Paisley, at the time the apparently implacable voice of Northern Irish Protestant loyalism, could be persuaded to give a fair hearing to Pope John Paul II’s 1988 speech to the European Parliament, the last such address by a Pontiff to the body until Francis took the floor.

Eventually, however, Paisley did learn to stop bellowing and to prize peace above division, at least to some extent. European history is full of such encouraging examples alongside its gloomier lessons. Pope Francis reminded Europe of its capacity for good. In so doing, he continues to reassert the capacity of his office to do the same.

TIME European Union

Is It a Bird? Is It a Plane? No, It’s Captain Euro

But is he in time to save the European Union and the world?

You might think there were enough cartoon characters in politics already. Apparently not. Enter Captain Euro, flexing his pectorals and multilingual skills as he battles to save the European Union.

The self-styled leader of Europe, the Captain sees himself as the first point of contact for any U.S. President seeking to speak to Europe.

But the Captain isn’t a superhero. He’s just drawn that way (though he and his team of ardent Europhiles in matching blue and gold outfits might also be mistaken for the flight crew on a European no-frills airline.)

The son of Brand EU, an initiative that tries to do exactly what the name suggests, itself the brainchild of a think tank called Gold Mercury, the Captain first strode to the rescue of Europe in 1995 but fell into obscurity until desperate times and rising euroskepsis—boosted, of course, by the flailings of the Captain’s namesake currency—necessitated his recall. So since Nov. 18 he’s been back in action, deploying his sole special power: the power of persuasion.”Together we are one of the world’s strongest powers. Separately, we amount to far less in this newly globalized world, where size is everything,” says Nicolas de Santis, President of Gold Mercury and thus the Captain’s real daddy. “Armed with this knowledge, Captain Euro will continue on his heroic mission to promote the values of a united EU which we all share: peace, solidarity and sustainability.”

To the Captain and his creator, the baddies are evil-minded euroskeptics dressed in UKIP purple who threaten that vision. Their leader is called Dr D Vider (see what they did there?).

And this is where our hero gets a little confused and confusing. His backstory is puzzling. Called Adam Andros, he’s not a David standing up to goliath globalized corporations. We are told he inherited his own giant corporation, Sustania. An avatar of vested interests, he seeks to rally to his cause some of the real-life leaders than some Europeans might see as part of the problem rather than the cure.

In real-life Jean-Claude Juncker, who has just embarked on a five-year term as President of the European Commission, already faces a motion of censure in the European Parliament after allegations that during his previous incarnations as Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Luxembourg, he helped global corporations to minimize their European tax payments. In a Captain Euro strip, Juncker is a unifying figure working to persuade Prime Minister David Cameron to keep Britain in the E.U..

The coalition of anti-Europe, anti-immigration parties seeking to censure Juncker includes a fair sprinkling of cartoonish characters, but they are successfully positioning themselves as the good guys to a broadening swathe of European voters. If Captain Euro really wants to counteract the misinformation such parties spread, he’ll need to recognize the parts of their message that resonate. The time is ripe for a hero who is pro-Europe but not identified with the European elite. Before Captain Euro can redraw the continent’s fracturing politics, he may have to redraw himself.

All cartoons courtesy of Nicolas de Santis/ Gold Mercury International.

TIME latvia

Latvian Foreign Minister Announces He Is Gay on Twitter

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics attends a press conference in Tehran, Iran on April 23, 2014.
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics attends a press conference in Tehran, Iran on April 23, 2014. Fatemeh Bahrami—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Edgars Rinkevics is due to play an important international role when Latvia takes over E.U. presidency

The Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics has announced he is gay on Twitter.

The minister of the Baltic state wrote: “I proudly announce I am gay…good luck to all of you.”

Rinkevics made his declaration the day after being confirmed in his position as foreign minister.

Latvia is a former part of the Soviet Union and socially conservative views remain popular. It is one of the few countries in the European Union that does not allow same sex marriage. Rinkēvičs’ announcement on Thursday evening comes before Latvia assumes the rotating presidency of the E.U. on Jan. 1, giving him an enhanced international profile for six months.

TIME United Kingdom

European Migrants Contribute $32 Billion to U.K. Economy, Study Says

Polish workers on Braeburn apple orchard at Stocks Farm in Worcestershire, England on Aug. 7, 2014.
Polish workers on Braeburn apple orchard at Stocks Farm in Worcestershire, England on Aug. 7, 2014. Joe Giddens—PA/AP

E.U. migrants pay out more in taxes to the U.K. than they receive in benefits

European migrants to the U.K. contribute $32 billion (£20 billion) to British revenues according to new research which rejects claims that new arrivals are a drain on the health and social security system.

The Guardian reported that between 2000 and 2011, migrants from countries such as Germany and Romania contributed far more than they claimed in health insurance and unemployment and other benefits.

Professor Christian Dustmann, co-author of the study, says that one of the greatest concerns in the public debate on migration is “whether immigrants contribute their fair share to the tax and welfare systems,” he said, “This latest study paints a largely positive picture of immigration’s fiscal effects on the U.K.”

European immigrants appear to make the most substantial contributions because of “their higher average labor market participation compared with natives and their lower receipt of welfare benefits,” says the report.

Migrants from the original 15 European Union countries, including France and Germany contributed $24bn more in taxes than they got in benefits while migrants from eastern Europe contributed $8bn more.

The researchers, say their findings showed that the U.K. has continued to attract highly educated and skilled immigrants and immigration’s positive net contribution has helped to reduce the tax burden on native British workers.

[The Guardian]

TIME European Union

Italy to End Naval Operation That Rescued Thousands of Migrants

U.K says it will not support future EU rescue missions, because they encourage migrants to attempt crossing from North Africa

An Italian search-and-rescue operation of migrants attempting to reach Europe by sea is due to end this week, after rescuing around 150,000 people over the past year.

The ‘Mare Nostrum’ operation, which involves a large part of the country’s navy and rescued on average 400 migrants a day, was launched after a boat disaster off the Italian island of Lampedusa last October killed more than 360 migrants.

The operation has since been deemed unsustainable by Italian authorities. In spite of the efforts of Mare Nostrum, around 2,500 people have drowned or gone missing in the Mediterranean this year alone.

Border officials from European Union countries are meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss how best to regulate the flow of migrants trying to reach Europe from North Africa. Ministers across the E.U. have acknowledged the matter’s importance, but have questioned the effectiveness of expensive search-and-rescue operations.

The U.K.’s Foreign Office minister, Lady Anelay, announced Oct.15 that Britain will not be supporting any future search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean, saying that they “create an unintended ‘pull factor’, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths.” Anelay said the most effective way to tackle the problem “is to focus our attention on countries of origin and transit, as well as taking steps to fight the people smugglers who wilfully put lives at risk by packing migrants into unseaworthy boats.”

The U.K. does not plan to take part in the new “Operation Triton” being launched by the European Frontex border agency on Nov. 1. This joint EU operation will not include search-and-rescue plans but focuses on border protection, involving patrols within 30 miles of the Italian coast. Frontex spokeswoman Isabella Cooper told the BBC: “We only have a few vessels and a few aircraft. The Mediterranean Sea is over 2.5 million square kilometres large – it is virtually impossible to have a full overview of what is happening at sea.”

Human rights groups like Amnesty International and refugee organizations have criticized the new plans. Michael Diedring, Secretary-General of the European Council on Refugees, told the BBC that the EU should fundamentally change its approach to the problem by offering more safe and legal channels for migrants. “There are almost no safe and legal means to access European soil to file an asylum claim, for example.”

U.K. Refugee Council chief executive Maurice Wren agreed, telling The Guardian that “the world is in the grip of the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War. People fleeing atrocities will not stop coming if we stop throwing them life rings.” He warned that withdrawing help would only lead to more people that “needlessly and shamefully dying on Europe’s doorstep.”

Read more: Shining a Light on the Plight of Europe’s Migrants, From Rome to Brussels

 

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