MOSCOW (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — The European Union is currently facing a major refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of migrants attempting to find a safe haven in Europe, mainly fleeing crisis-torn regions in the Middle East and North Africa.
The ongoing Syrian Civil War is one of the main conflicts that the asylum seekers are trying to escape from.
Levy noted that in comparison to what Syria and its neighboring countries were facing at the moment, the number of refugees arriving in Europe was only "a tiny reflection" of the overall humanitarian catastrophe. There are millions of internally displaced people in Syria, 1.8 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, 1.2 million in Lebanon and nearly a million in Jordan.
Still Most Desired Destination
Despite all the economic problems that the European Union has suffered recently, it remains the most attractive destination for those thousands of asylum seekers who dream of crossing the Mediterranean.
"If people can escape, Europe is first where they want to be saved," Levy said.
In this context, it should be a priority for everyone involved to work out a common and speedy response to the problem.
Europe is currently divided over the refugee crisis, with some countries pressing for mandatory quotas to relocate migrants, while other EU states are reluctant to share the burden of accepting a high numbers of asylum seekers.
At the same time, Europe itself should be more proactive in protecting its own interests. In Syria, there are more foreign fighters from Europe than from the United States or other countries.
"Europe should take more action – maybe doing more in talking with the Gulf states, talking to Iran and Turkey and different Syrian factions, both opposition and the government, and not waiting for America," Levy said.
Only Diplomacy Needed
When it comes to finding the roots of the ongoing turmoil, a common mistake is to criticize the Obama administration or Brussels for not being resolute enough to put an end to the Syrian conflict but more military action would have just aggravated the situation, the European Council on Foreign Relations analyst explained.
"I think we should be doing more diplomatically… Now it is the time to increase our diplomatic effort," Levy said.
According to UN estimates, since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, 7.6 million people have been internally displaced and another four million people are living as refugees outside the country.
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