The conflict in Syria is now in its seventh year. The media give us daily accounts of its extreme violence and its far-reaching impact, including on Europe with the massive arrival of refugees fleeing from death. Other conflicts, particularly those in Afghanistan, Burundi, Iraq, Libya, Niger and Nigeria, Central Africa, Congo, South-Sudan and Yemen have also increased the gravity of the crisis.
In 2015, 8.6 million out of a total of 12.4 million displaced persons were displaced internally. These figures show that, although it is absolutely essential to continue to receive refugees in Europe, while improving reception conditions, and at the same time to protect their fundamental rights, it is at least as important, in view of our inability to influence significantly the political causes of conflicts and with a view to helping prevent future migration crises, that Europe should help the countries of origin in order to find alternatives to mass migration.
The world population is continuing to rise; that of Africa is expected to double and to reach over 2 billion by 2050. And by 2030 the number of young Africans looking for work is expected to explode, which will be a further major incentive to migrate to neighbouring countries and, directly or by a knock-on effect, to Europe.
Development aid is an important tool for redressing the damaging effects of conflicts and mitigating the impact of climate change. It helps young people to build their future in their home countries and avoids the need for large-scale migration to Europe. The Parliamentary Assembly should examine development aid mechanisms with a view to promoting them as a core element of Europe’s response to migration and refugee crises.