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George Soros’ Take on Europe’s Refugee Crisis12.02.15

“In addition to protecting our national interests, we must take the leadership in protecting the common interests of humanity.” – George Soros

George Soros needs no introduction. Born in Hungary in 1930, escaped to England in 1947 where he received his university education and worked for a while before moving to New York in 1956, Soros is a household name in the world of business, philanthropy and political activism(1). Perhaps not surprising for a man born In Hungary, Soros is among few American billionaires who take keen interest in events occurring in Europe. In 2014 he came out strongly against Putin’s intervention in Ukraine when the EU and the US were still at a loss on how to respond to the Ukraine crisis (2).
If the Ukraine crisis was the biggest crisis to face EU in 2014, the refugee crisis is the biggest on in 2015. Fleeing from conflict and poverty in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea, hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers have found their way to Europe in search of peace and a better life. Like in the Ukrainian crisis, EU leaders have been slow to respond to this crisis. As his article which can be read on Market Watch shows (3), Soros is not short of ideas on how to solve this refugee crisis which he believes has been allowed to develop into a serious problem thanks to a lack of a comprehensive unified plan from EU leaders.
Soros’ first step in solving this crisis is for the EU to accept 1 million refugees every year until the problem is solved. The refugees should be shared fairly among all the EU states and given adequate financial support funded through selling of long term bonds.
Soros also urges the EU to take leadership in global efforts to fund states that neighbor Syria where the bulk of the refugees come from. To Soros, it is not just a matter of giving Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon money; EU should help these countries develop thriving economies through trade and investment. Such economies would then have adequate jobs for both the refugees and the locals thus eliminating the need to immigrate to Europe.
Additionally, he proposes setting up of one EU Border Guard and Asylum and Migration Agency. Such an agency, enforcing common procedures and rules pertaining to employment and benefits of refugees, will not only be cheaper but also more efficient than the current 28 such agencies run by different countries.
Other proposals include working in conjunction with the UN Refugee Agency to set up processing centres in countries like Turkey so that successful applicants can safely be transported to Europe instead of making dangerous journeys on their own and mobilizing the private sector to help EU in getting the required funding and human capacity needed for successful integration of the refugees in European societies.
Soros doesn’t pretend to know it all but as his political activism and philanthropy shows, he believes that to whom much is given much is expected. His proposals on how to solve the refugee crisis in Europe as discussed above is his way of serving humanity through lending his prestige and influence to a just cause.


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