Migration Crisis of 2010 and Its Effect on Europe
During 2010s Europe started to witness a high influx of refugees, the highest one in fact ever since the World War II. The numbers really peaked during year 2015 and 2016 and at that time the tensions between EU members started to intensify as they were struggling how to hand huge waves of immigrants coming from Africa and Middle East.
Where did the immigrants go?
Spain, Italy and Greece are the ones who took the most strain out of the massive waves of refugees, because of their proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. According to the UNHCR reports, over 56 thousand arrived to Spain, around 29 thousand to Greece, and 23 thousand to Italy. Over 1.8 million migrants arrived to EU, and it was still not the end, as more arrivals were expected.
The only country that really stepped up during the crisis was Germany, and under Merkel’s open-door policy they welcomed over a million refugees. Other countries bolstered their externals border control, some were able to accomodate lower number, but Germany decided to do most of the heavy lifting. However, this is a massive change, and people react to it differently. So, when something like this happens it has a huge impact on politics, and the aftermath definitely echoed throughout the Europe.
The high influx of immigrants caused an anti-immigration sentiment to grow stronger. In Italy, the country that was on the front lines, the far-right party of Matteo Salvini started to grow in popularity. Matteo promised to send half a million immigrants back to their home, and his intentions were well received. In Germany, the situation was similar, as the campaign of right wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), was mainly focused on immigration issue. It seems that the main concerns of the Europeans were immigrants and terrorism.
This is really a normal ebb and flow of politics, left wing parties are more open minded, welcoming and collaborative, and during their regime there is more mixture of cultures within the country. However, this kind of policy can also be messy sometimes, and due to drastic changes people start to lose the sense of national identity and have a desire to reinforce it. This is when right wing parties start to gain popularity, as their approach is more internal, and they aim to in a way clean to house, and make sure everything is organized. Truth be told, both views are beneficial for the country, and but far left and far right views are not entirely appealing.
The truth is that nobody wants to speak their mind and take an adamant stand on the issue. European leaders agree that something needs to be done, and that they should help Greece, Spain and Italy with the incoming refugees, but no one wants to take mandatory actions. The only one who took a stand was Viktor Orban, leader of Hungary, who urges people to create stronger border controls and stop the invasion, so the problems still remain.
One of the reasons why leaders are afraid the speak out is because their countries are heavily divided on the issue. You are there to represent the will of your people, but if there is a heavy divide on the issue, all you can do is take a neutral position until things become more crystal clear.