PN Member Glyn Ford Discusses the Refugee Crisis in the EU

October 03, 2014

PN Member Glyn Ford was interviewed today by Ria Novosti to share his views on the current refugee crisis faced by the European Union. 

According to a yearly report issued by the UNHCR, 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide by the end of 2013. 16.7 million of those individuals have been recognized as refugees, with another 1.2 million seeking asylum. 50% of the 2013 refugee population consisted of children under 18 years of age. In 2014, the EU is still struggling to address the masses of people seeking refuge in its borders.

When prompted with the argument that Europe does not have the economic capacity to take in everyone in need, Glyn Ford pointed to a deeper issue: "The trouble is that there is not very much burden-sharing. The countries like Malta or southern Italy, and southern Spain actually face the difficulties to an extent that is not true elsewhere in the EU," he said. Ford recommended the use of "a common foreign and security policy" to "actually try and resolve some of the problems in these countries."

He also discussed the anti-immigrant attitudes present within the EU and the idea that immigrants generally end up taking part in criminal activity after failing to receive the aid needed to integrate into the new cultures. According to Ford, "there is no higher crime rate amongst the immigrants than there is amongst the normal population," but he does concede that the perception that immigrants bring crime and disorder is not without reason. 

"It is poverty that brings crime and disorder," explains Ford, "and the problem is that they bring poverty with them." He reasoned that the refugees do not have inherent criminal tendencies, but are poor and disadvantaged. "And the more poor and disadvantaged you make them," such as treating them as inferior, he said, "the more you are creating a problem rather than resolving it." 

Ford concluded with the argument that more time needs to be spent trying to improve conditions in the countries the refugees are coming from. "And that means we need sensible foreign policy in terms of addressing the situation," he said, but added a final cautionary statement, "We have to say we need to be careful with how we intervene, because we don’t bear the consequences."


PN Member Glyn Ford was a Member of the European Parliament for over 25 years where he served as Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party and Deputy Leader of the Socialist Group. After leaving the Parliament in 2009, Ford founded the EU Consultancy POLINT and started a collaboration with another Brussels-based Consultancy Company, GPlus Europe. In a personal capacity Glyn is a Board Member of the European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS) and the North East Asian Economic Forum (NEAEF).

Read the full interview on Ria Novosti
Photo courtesy of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies