The European Union would “disintegrate” if the growing refugee problem is not addressed, said Liz Mohn, vice-chairwoman of Bertelsmann Stiffung, a prominent German NGO, here today. Mohn was speaking on `The Great Debate: Refugee Crisis, Open Borders or Closed Minds’ at India Today Conclave. “I have seen men, women and children living in refugee camps in various areas….They have come to European countries seeking safety….85 per cent men are in the age-group of 25-30 years. I saw very few women with children,” Mohn said. “We want to help them but we can’t help them all…If the issue is not addressed, EU would disintegrate,” she said.
European countries are grappling with a huge influx of refugees in the recent years, mainly from strife-torn Syria. Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of International Federation of Red Cross, said, “We must show tolerance towards other people’s religion, faith and values. At the same time, it can not be ignored that refugees is an enormous economic challenge to the country.” Only 14 per cent of refugees are in the developed countries while rest of them are scattered across the developing world, he pointed out.
Riad Abbas, Syria’s ambassador to India, said, “The Syrian crisis is actually from the external forces and not internal ones. The growing power of Wahabis is affecting the country, and everyone knows who is behind it.” On India’s stand on refugees, Venu Rajamony, additional secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, said, “India was born with refugee issue. Millions of people moved from one geography to another. On the other hand, after Bangladesh formation, some six million refugees went back to Bangladesh from India. It does put some stress on resources, but the developing countries are coping with it.”