As a response to this question, CPNN readers are encouraged to read the full text of the analysis of the refugee crisis in Europe by Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, in a speech on October 9, 2015.
Here are a few excerpts from his speech:
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The refugee crisis is a by-product of at least three broader trends:
First and foremost, it is the result of the breakdown of the authoritarian state order in the Middle East and Africa after the destruction of authoritarian states in Iraq and Libya, as well as the Arab Spring.
What we are witnessing today is not just a series of civil wars, but also a geopolitical struggle to redefine the balance of powers in the Middle East.
Second, the inability of the Security Council to find a compromise that can resolve the crisis in Syria has undermined its own authority and perpetuated the conflict.
Finally, the growing migratory flows are also compounded by demographic growth in countries in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa that are unable to generate sufficient employment for young people.
The populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East have multiplied by four since 1950 . On current trends, both will double again their 2000 populations by 2050.
This underlying trend is exacerbating political instability in the Middle East and Africa and fuelling migration.
Europe sees the massive influx of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa as a threat.
In reality, it is an endorsement of the European project, an opportunity, but also a challenge that will require decisive action.
Europe is a symbol of freedom, prosperity and justice that attracts immigrants. At a time when the EU is not popular within its own borders, Europeans should reflect on the significance of their popularity abroad.
But migrants should not be regarded merely as beneficiaries of Europe’s bounty: they also represent an opportunity for Europe itself.
By definition, immigrants are entrepreneurial people. After all, they have taken huge risks to seek a better life for themselves and their families.
It should not, therefore, come as a surprise that they are over-represented amongst entrepreneurs. In fact, more than 40 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant .
I am certain that many of the wealthy philanthropists in this room, like Mr. Arton himself, are immigrants or children of immigrants.
Moreover, immigrants can help to compensate for the ageing population of many European countries, and can therefore help sustain their welfare states into the future.
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The historic refugee crisis Europe is facing today is so hard to solve because it is not a one-off, humanitarian phenomenon.
It is, in fact, a by-product and symptom of much deeper political problems that beset regional and global order.
It will therefore require concerted action not just in and by Europe, but amongst the regional powers of the Middle East, and the global powers of the Security Council.
Like climate change, it is one of those issues that epitomise our era of globalisation, when crises in one part of the world can no longer be isolated or ignored by the rest.
Once again, international cooperation and dialogue will be the key to finding solutions.
According to an African proverb, if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.
We have a long way to go; we can only do so if we go together.
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