Europe is experiencing not one, but three population related crises. Two are fast and one is slow.
CGD Policy Blogs
It is a major concern often heard from US border residents: how much might increasing drug cartel violence in Mexico “spill over” into the United States? It’s certainly true that illicit markets—in drugs, guns and people—have long flourished across the 2,000 mile frontier, and pose policy concerns for both countries. To date, the major strategy to tackle this problem has been a law enforcement approach sponsored by the United States. Is this the right approach?
How much do rich countries’ policies help or hinder the world’s poorest people? That’s what CGD’s Commitment to Development Index (CDI) measures.
In times of fear, men and women of reason have a responsibility to speak about facts.
I understand fear. I narrowly escaped a terrorist bomb in Colombia as a young man. Fear can make you do things you regret when you learn the facts. And in the United States now, fact-checking has been replaced by fear-mongering, hard evidence by hysteria.
On Thursday, the leaders of 30 African countries signed a European Commission action plan tasking them–in exchange for a $2 billion “emergency trust fund”–to take back economic migrants looking to settle in Europe. If this sum is meant as a bribe, it is a bad deal. With remittances dwarfing foreign aid worldwide ($580 billion versus $135 billion in 2014), migration is a better deal for Africa than aid.
At last, a glimmer of hope in Europe’s refugee crisis: on Sunday 25 October, the European Commission released a 17-point plan to manage refugee flows along the Western Balkans route. The agreement is a welcome sign of political progress. However, the policy prescriptions fall far short of the wide-ranging, creative, long-term plan necessary. An effective refugee strategy requires a more holistic approach on three dimensions: space, institutions and time.
Recent research overturns the standard narrative about refugee crises: that addressing them mainly means curtailing the conflict and poverty that “push” migrants away from home and slashing the excessive generosity that “pull” them into other countries. Instead, pragmatic and self-interested policymakers should consider that they often waste resources when trying to reduce push factors, and they can spark an inhumane and inefficient race to the bottom by acting individually to reduce pull factors. Through broad international cooperation to get people out of camps and into the labor force, though, they can transform refugees from a burden into an investment.
How can we make humanitarian aid better? Give refugees cash. That’s the main recommendation of a high level panel convened by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), and chaired by CGD’s Owen Barder. You can read his blog on the Panel’s report here.