Migrant Burden Sharing in Europe

“Illegal immigration: Europe’s Huddled Masses,” from the Economist:

It is a grand European project, born of integrationist ideals yet undermined by participants’ unwillingness to share costs as well as benefits. No, not the euro zone, but the Schengen agreement between 26 European countries to eliminate controls at their common borders. Europeans benefit enormously from their ability to move freely between countries. But the waves of migrants looking to enter the continent impose a burden on its southernmost countries that must be shared more evenly. If not, Schengen itself could unravel.

Whether they seek shelter from persecution or economic opportunity, illegal migrants are keenest to reach Europe’s richer, northern countries. Many migrants head directly to these countries, often by air, arriving on a legal visa and staying on when it expires. But geography and the economics of migration mean that the most desperate travel by sea and land from Africa and the Middle East. And their first contact with western Europe is on the continent’s periphery—Mediterranean islands like Lampedusa and Malta for the dangerously overcrowded boats from Africa, Greece’s eastern frontier with Turkey for those trekking from Syria and beyond…

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