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The Refugee Crisis — 3 Comments

  1. OK – radical problems demand radical solutions; intractable problems demand creative thinking outside of the usual “procedures,” (which clearly aren’t working in this case).  Here’s a scenario – just a rough outline, you understand.

     

    Firstly, you’re right, it would make much more sense for all those wealthy Arab nations to open their doors to their fellow Arab refugees.  But they ain’t gonna, and we can’t force them, so that’s one avenue closed.  Shame, but that’s the way it is.  So, here’s an alternative idea:

     

    Given that:

     

    1.         They’re on Europe’s doorstep (several doorsteps, actually), so one way or another, Europe is going to end up paying for them.

    2.         Greece has, as we know, enormous debt problems.

    3.         Greece also has a large number of “spare” (i.e. uninhabited) islands within its territory

     

    Why doesn’t Greece (or someone else in the EU) suggest that:

     

    1.         Greece gives up one of its “spare” islands to become “general EU territory”

    2.         Greece offers this island (or is offered for it) a big – very big – reduction in its debt as compensation.

    3.         The EU (which, as mentioned above, is going to end up paying for these people anyway) then builds, at its own expense, on this “spare” island, a dedicated urban space for these people, with guaranteed safe passage and easy entry, where they will be expected to stay and not try to migrate to any other EU countries.  Any found trying to leave the island will be given the offer of being flown back to their homeland, or simply returned to the island – no other options.  It’ll cost, of course, because if for no other than humanitarian reasons, it couldn’t be allowed to deteriorate into a ghetto or a “refugee camp,” so decent (but not luxurious) facilities would need to be provided – water, power, housing, sanitation, supplies etc, at least at first.  But then it’s costing money now and will no doubt continue to do so all the time the crisis continues – surely it’s better to be spending money on a permanent solution than wasting money on the sticking-plaster (non) solutions that we’ve got now.

    4.         And if numbers swell so much that the island become overcrowded (because there’d obviously have to be a limit, to prevent deterioration of living conditions), the exercise could be repeated as many times as Greece wished, in return for further reductions in their debt.

     

    There you are.  Job done.  The refugees get the safe haven they want, they get to live in decent and humane conditions provided for them, but they don’t intrude into countries who, rightly or wrongly, are reluctant to take them, and Greece gets both the moral kudos of the “country that came to the rescue of the EU” AND secures a big reduction in its debt, to boot.  Apart from it sounding politically-incorrect (which it actually isn’t, if the facilities provided are perfectly liveable and comfortable), the only problem I can see is that the Greeks might not like the idea of giving up some of their territory.  But, with the incentive of a big debt reduction …..

    • Jax,

      I like it!  But I still think the wealthy Saudis and the Gulf States should bankroll the whole thing. The Greeks could charge them ‘tourist rates’ for all the refugees and the profits from that could go towards Greek debt. The Arab States would have to supply spending money for their kin and some of them may need to rent cars etc. As time progressed then, the islanders could start their own businesses on the island and after a few years perhaps those wishing to do so might apply for Greek citizenship. And wars don’t last forever. No doubt a time would come when it may be possible for some of them to return to teir homelands using a Saudi ‘diaspora’ grant.

      We could be onto something here Jax!

    • Egyptian billionaire offers to buy an island off Italy or Greece to rehouse refugees

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/11843752/Egyptian-billionaire-offers-to-buy-an-island-off-Italy-or-Greece-to-rehouse-refugees.html

      Someone beat you to it!

      The idea is good, Jax, but I think you would find that the refugees housed on the island would still be trying to get to northern Europe in pursuit of money and lifestyle. The Egyptian guy above talks about employing the refugees to build the infrastructure, but when that's finished, what do they do then? Of course, that infrastructure could incorporate hotels etc with a view to establishing a tourist industry, but that is seasonal work. How do they live in the winter months? It's a major problem for the indiginous population, so it would be even more so for an enclave like that. The other point, of course, is that most of the uninhabited islands are uninhabited for a reason, the main one being that they are too small to sustain a viable population, and that they have no fresh water. And of course no power.

      I agree with John that whatever the solution, the Gulf States should at the very least contribute a large percentage of the cost. They won't, though, because as far as they are concerned, the west has created this situation through their meddling in Middle East affairs (which is not far from the truth, although it's not quite as simple as that), and so the west can deal with the fallout.

       

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