DAVOS: Europe must adopt a stable and holistic migration pact to deal with the growing number of refugees fleeing war in Ukraine, said Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life at the European Commission.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum session titled “Responding to New Migration Flows in Europe,” Schinas said, “Europe will always remain a destination of asylum for those fleeing war and persecution. This is the model of society that we defend. We have welcomed more than 5 million Ukrainian refugees, but we do not yet have a migration pact. This forces us to function very often as firefighters rather than as architects.
A future EU migration policy would require a holistic approach comprising strong relations with countries of origin and transit, a collective and uniform border system and procedures within EU countries, and solidarity between all levels of society to cope with the burden of global crises, the vice president said.
Moldova is an example of how joint border controls and communication at all levels can help facilitate the movement of refugees, according to Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița.
About half a million people crossed the Ukraine-Moldova border, the prime minister said, adding that contingency plans in place allowed thousands of migrants who had hastily fled to enter in the country without sufficient documents.
Hundreds of Moldovans also rushed to provide aid and offer their services to help ease the influx of Ukrainians entering the country, she said.
The WEF session came after the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, announced on Monday that the number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights abuses and persecution worldwide had crossed the grim milestone of 100 million for the first time.
The war in Ukraine alone has displaced 8 million people internally and forced more than 6 million others to flee elsewhere, according to new UNHCR data.
By the end of 2021, around 90 million people had been forcibly displaced around the world as a result of conflict and new waves of violence in countries including Afghanistan, Myanmar and Burkina Faso.
The WEF, which runs from May 22-26, will see world leaders from business, technology and politics come together for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to discuss climate issues, technological and geopolitical, including the consequences of the epidemic and the Ukrainian crisis.