Europe has become refuge for thousands of people fleeing their native homes of Libya, Afghanistan and Syria, to name just a few.
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They have come to Europe in the hope of finding a better life for them and their families, away from the dangers of war, famine and crime. Most have traveled for days over land and sea risking their lives everyday to reach the promised safety of Europe. But once they are here, is it what they were expecting?
To get to safety of Europe the migrants are using normally tired old fishing boats controlled by people smugglers in their countries, most of the time paying all their savings to do so, and arriving most of the time in Greece and Italy, or that is the plan.
Some of these boats sink out at sea, meaning that the Greece or Italian authorities have to start a rescue operation to try and save the lives of as many as they can, unfortunately not all can be saved and the death toll is very high.
They arrive after their frightening, dangerous journey to land in countries which are experiencing their own problems, that can’t afford or have the space to take and support extra people, for example Greece.
If they survive the journey, the Greek authorities have no way of being able to keep them all safe and give them homes and jobs. Greece at the moment can’t afford to pay its own people with the current Greek crisis still ongoing, but a debt locked country is better than a war torn nation.
The migrants want to claim asylum in the country they feel safest, this can be a lengthy process which can take years for a decision to be made. While they wait for that decision to be made, they are either kept safe in makeshift camps, mainly in Europe and other countries or in this country in a specialty house.
If they are granted asylum it means they have access to all the services like any other national of that country, making their lives easier. To get asylum granted the migrant has to prove that if they return home their lives are in serious danger, but most have fled for that reason so linking to the previous point if too many come the claim for asylum gets harder and harder.
Some migrants continue through Europe and end up in France hoping to find a better life in the UK. To do this they have been trying and sometimes succeeding to storm the channel tunnel and get on to or in UK bound Lorries. This has caused issues for both UK and European Lorries and their companies. The most important issue is if a large group storm the tunnel, due to safety and security reasons the tunnel is closed for maybe hours on end, creating long queues either side of the channel, as we have seen with the M20 in Kent becoming a lorry park for the majority of July and continuing in to August.
It isn’t just the delays which are causing the issues, there is also a big financial loss occurring for each company with a lorry destined for Europe or the UK. These companies are losing money daily due to the lorries not moving, not reaching their destinations and causing companies to lose money and fresh produce to go stale.
There are also fears for the drivers safety, as there have been reports that lorry drivers are being attacked by migrants who are desperate to reach the UK anyway they can. Another serious issue they face is the migrants getting access to the inside of their trailers and sneaking through the tunnel in the back. This means that the drivers themselves receive a fine of £2000 for ‘assisting’ even though it isn’t their fault.
Holiday makers are also being affected by the crisis that is happening in Calais with the problems on the M20 in Kent. Many are having longer journeys to get to the train terminal, and when the tunnel has to be closed their holidays are put on hold, costing them money and making the whole experience more stressful.
The main issue for the UK Government is currently the country’s resources like medical, education and housing, which are running at near full capacity, with some places unable to support UK nationals. This means that if we accept a large amount of people that are stranded in Calais, there is nothing in the reserves to support them.
It starts up the argument, how should we meet the needs of our own nationals as well coping and aiding in the humanitarian issue that sweeping across Europe. We have a duty being part of both the United Nations and the European Union to care for other members of the world. As the majority of the migrants are in Greece and France, who are also part of both the UN and EU they have called other EU countries to try and help disperse them.
To slow down or halt the crisis that is happen at Calais, David Cameron, last autumn pledged £12million to help the French authorities add extra security to the port and surrounding areas.
Cameron also this year pledged another £9million and security fencing, this is on top of the money spent by Euro-tunnel, and the French police presence, however this is not having the desired effect and more and more migrants are still trying and sometimes successfully entering Britain illegally.
In my opinion the only way to stop or slow down the flow of migrants is to look and start with the countries that they are fleeing, try and help the Government get into a position where they can support their own nationals. The UK has a £11million foreign aid budget, that money could be spent helping certain countries achieve this goal.
Whatever decisions are made by the UK and French authorities the Calais Crisis isn’t going to go away anytime soon, and further afield the larger picture migrant crisis isn’t just going to disappear soon either, the world needs a strategy to help the migrants but also considering what is best for everyone.