LETTER: The refugee problem isn’t just about numbers

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In the recent debate about the refugee crises in Europe, the whole focus has been on ‘numbers’. How many and where.

Recently, the emergency EU meeting failed to agree to allocate 120, 000 refugees within a population of more than 300 million.

That is shameful, the ‘numbers’ represent four refugees for each 1,000 EU citizens.
Despite the numerical insignificance Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary have closed their borders - which is ironic as these are the countries benefiting most from the open borders within the EU.

Now their action, formally criticised, has been sanctioned by Germany by closing her own borders.

This indicates the problem is not in numbers. We need to solve the refugee problem by understanding the cultural distance between the incoming people and European traditions.

I have no doubt as I was a refugee myself, that the first generation of newcomers will be very grateful indeed. I am not so sure about the second generation.

Unless we provide help for settlement and adjustment for both, the refugees and the indigenous population, we will not solve the ‘refugee crises’. We have to recognise Europe’s obligation on one hand and Europe’s limitations on the other. According to the UN there are 60 million refugees worldwide, four million in the Middle East. We cannot accept all. But our acceptance of some of them does give us a moral right to participate in the solution for all.

George Smid

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