Turning an Intractable Refugee Crisis to a Force for Economic Stimulus

Billionaire hedge funds speculator, George Soros, in his November 3, 2015 article on his Open Society Foundation website, writes about his own experience as a refugee fleeing the encroaching Nazi Rule in Hungary: “My own story is one of surviving Nazi occupation and fleeing communist-dominated Hungary in 1947 to be welcomed in England. I was given an opportunity to start a new life. And I was treated with respect and kindness, for which I am grateful.”Amidst the growing refugee crisis from the Syrian conflict, George Soros views with alarm the daily tragedies faced by refugees, while lamenting the lack of a compassionate and creative policy, particularly in the European Union. ”Victims fleeing civil war in Syria and the brutal government repression in countries like Eritrea are not being shown the same consideration,” Soros writes.

What has transpired, instead, to Soros’ alarm, was the continuing lack of coordination and pragmatic policy which has only created panic among asylum seekers and border control agents alike. This, in turn, has incited popular fears that inevitably turned public opinion against the refugees who are the victims. Popular anxieties regarding the crisis need not have reached this point, for as Soros observed, the larger European population had at one time regarded legal migration more reasonably.

In a recent article on Market Watch, Soros points out that the 28 separate asylum centers currently in place articulates no central or defining policy on who gets in and who stays out . He urges the EU to install a more comprehensive plan for asylum seekers, a plan that reflects a more visionary model that is more representative of Europe’s generous spirit formed from its own rich collective history of exodus and resettlement.

The Syrian flight has been taking place for a while now but stable resettlement in destination countries had been elusive, largely because the crisis was never taken on and wielded with true political will from the EU and the international community. Hungary’s answer to the problem, for instance, as with many other countries, was to secure its borders to keep the intractable flow of migrants out.

According the Soros, the fate of Syrian asylum seekers should by now be confronted and be met with a global response led by the United Nations and its member states. The Syrian refugee solution should have to serve as the standard guideline for ensuing problems of forced migration of people from beleaguered countries. The measures would also have to integrate a robust plan to return migrants safely or resettle them elsewhere when they are unable to qualify.

While vigorous financing is crucial to cover costs for adequate housing, healthcare, and education, (15,000 euros–$16,800–per asylum-seeker for the first two years to help cover basic needs), Soros also points out the importance of a plan that makes for the acceptance of refugees more economically attractive to member states. Funds to support resettlement programs can be raised, according to Soros, by issuing long-term bonds using their AAA borrowing capacity, which could offer a worthwhile fiscal stimulus to European economy. Instead of looking at the refugee crisis through the lens of fear and scarcity, the potential of each migrant to stimulate the consumer force of any economy should be regarded and developed as a viably humanitarian idea.

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/profile/george-soros/