Refugees in the makeshift camp known as "The Jungle," in Calais, October 2016.
Phillip Wojazer / Reuters

Three years since the start of the European refugee crisis, the continent’s politics are still convulsed by disagreements over migration. This is despite the sharp decline in the number of people crossing the Mediterranean into Europe—60,000 between January and August 2018, compared with over one million in 2015 and 350,000 in 2016. The crisis, in short, is not one of numbers but one of trust: European publics believe that migration is out of control and that their leaders have no real plan for handling it.

Among the new arrivals, some are refugees with no choice but to flee to Europe, while others are refugees who might have found protection closer to home. But many are aspirational migrants, leaving poor but not necessarily dangerous countries, such as Morocco and Tunisia, for better jobs and opportunities in the EU. Europe’s problem is that it currently has no effective way of distinguishing between these groups

To read the full article

  • ALEXANDER BETTS is the Leopold Muller Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs and the Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University. PAUL COLLIER is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and a Professorial Fellow of St Antony's College, also at Oxford. 
  • More By Alexander Betts
  • More By Paul Collier