The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – an international economic organisation comprising 34 countries – has said countries who are members are facing “an unprecedented refugee crisis”.
In a speech in Paris to launch the OECD’s 39th edition of the International Migration Outlook, Secretary-General of the OECD Angel Gurría said that migration was an asset and not a liability.
The OECD says that the migrant situation requires “a comprehensive and co-ordinated international response to address the immediate needs of asylum seekers” – as well as addressing the longer-term challenge of helping asylum seekers integrate into their host countries.
The OECD has published two reports – the 2015 International Migration Outlook and a Policy Brief on the Refugee Crisis.
Mr Gurría said:
“European leaders need to step up to the challenge so that Europe as a whole emerges stronger economically, socially and politically.
“Europe has the experience and capacity to respond.”
The OECD says that figures show up to August 2015, a total of 500,000 people entered Europe illegally, many fleeing war and conflict in their own countries who have been trafficked into Europe.
The figure is nearly double the total number of migrants for 2014 – a total of 280,000 illegal migrants – placing pressure on EU border countries such as Italy, Greece and Hungary.
Germany’s announcement that the country would welcome refugees and could take up to 500,000 a year in the next few years sparked a fresh wave of refugees trying to reach Germany and Austria via Hungary and more recently Croatia.
The OECD says that Europe will probably record more than one million asylum applications in 2015, with up to 450,000 of these expected to obtain a status of humanitarian migrant and eventually settle.
Mr Gurría added:
“The human cost of this refugee crisis is appalling – and countries need to quickly agree a fair allocation of refugees within Europe and ensure that such vast numbers of troubled people receive shelter, food and support.
“It’s essential that they also address the medium and long-term policy responses to this crisis,” Mr Gurría said.
“An emerging challenge will be the integration of the many new refugees who will remain in European host countries.
“We need to scale-up and adapt programmes so that refugees can integrate as quickly as possible in their new homes and make best use of their skills.
“We should all remember that migration is not a liability, but an asset,” he added.
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