03:36 GMT +308 December 2019
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    Refugees and asylum-seekers stand on the square by the Kornmarkt shopping center in Bautzen, Germany (File)

    'EU Needs a More Efficient Model of Refugee Distribution' - Political Analyst

    © AP Photo / Christian Essler, XCITEPRESS
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    German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has warned of a refugee crisis "greater than four years before" unless the EU takes steps to prevent it, for instance by doing more to support Turkey.

    According to Dimitris Rapidis, a strategic and political analyst as well as founder of Bridging Europe, a policy-making organisation on EU Affairs, the reasons for the uptick of asylum seekers are similar to those that caused the influx of refugees in 2015.

    Sputnik: Germany's interior minister has warned about an influx of refugees larger than the one in 2015. In your view, what is the main cause of this larger wave?

    Dimitris Rapidis: We do have an influx of refugees, but we can’t say it will be similar to the one we had back in 2015. The cause remains the same: escalation of conflicts in the wider region of the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. Along with refugees escaping from war-torn countries, we do observe a new wave of refugees, i.e. climate refugees, whose numbers will be growing significantly in the coming years.

    Sputnik: Seehofer has previously said that Germany would take in a quarter of rescued asylum seekers. How safe was it to make this statement? What consequences could it have?

    Dimitris Rapidis: Germany has done so far a good job in taking in refugees. The problem lies with other EU member-states that deny burden-sharing, make harder the work of asylum agencies, and push first-entry countries, like Greece and Italy, [who are] assuming a huge cost.

    The EU needs a more efficient model of refugee distribution, better and faster evaluation processes of asylum-seekers.

    Sputnik: EU officials have also been calling on the union to support Turkey in order to prevent refugees from making the dangerous journey to the bloc. What support can be offered to Ankara?

    Dimitris Rapidis: Turkey has assumed a huge burden and the EU has been generously supportive since 2016, both financially and technically. I believe both sides should have fruitful cooperation and stop the blame-game. Ankara can no longer use refugees as a bargaining tool for other hot-debated issues, such as drilling illegally in Cyprus area, seeking for natural gas. If the EU blocks funding towards Turkey, it would be a hard time for our neighbours.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Horst Seehofer, refugee crisis, Germany
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