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a large part of the Afghan, Pakistani, Syrian and Iraqi refugees reaching Europe are middle-class and educated: people who hope to get by with their technical and language knowledge
A question I'm having is why now? The war in Syria has been going on for 4 years.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 05:10:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I read of two reasons: one, the Assad regime is bleeding out and hope of any positive outcome is lost for the secular middle class; two, the situation has worsened in the big refugee camps housing millions in Turkey.

What I did not read any explanation for is the similarly strong up-tick in refugees from Afghanistan and Pakistan. As for what makes it a perfect storm, the third simultaneous wave from Kosovo and the rest of the Balkans itself, methinks the simultaneousness is accidental.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 06:21:53 AM EST
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I'm thinking that there is a snowball effect currently. Everyone who has been contemplating a move to the EU at some future date now has the idea that the EU will soon close its borders for real, and they are all thinking : it's now or never.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 08:22:30 AM EST
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Hopefully they are right but unfortunately some will try to keep Schengen alive a little bit longer.
by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 08:29:38 AM EST
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It is not so easy to close borders, fortunately. And once the refugees have crossed the borders they are entitled to protection. I don't expect an abolishment of the Geneva Conventions. As to violations of those conventions: that is a political issue, an issue that needs media attention and protest.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 08:38:25 AM EST
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Borders can't be closed for real, you can only create more business for smugglers, see US-American border.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 09:09:35 AM EST
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"two, the situation has worsened in the big refugee camps housing millions in Turkey."

And was never good in Lebanon.

by IM on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 09:32:31 AM EST
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The situation in Iraq got a lot worse. Still Afghanistan and Pakistan is like Syria a bit of a mystery.

Also former Yugoslavia and Albania: Why now? What is really different compared to five years ago?

by IM on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 09:30:34 AM EST
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In the case of Kosovo, there was a relaxation of Serbia's travel rules and a government change in Kosovo itself (a grand coalition of corrution); but there was the snowball effect, too:

Thousands flee economic despair in Kosovo for EU countries, welcome or not - LA Times

But the sudden surge of departures appears to have been motivated by word of mouth. Many would-be migrants say they decided to leave after watching neighbors and relatives depart and having read their Facebook posts about making it to an EU country.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 09:40:21 AM EST
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IM:
Also former Yugoslavia and Albania: Why now? What is really different compared to five years ago?

Perhaps five years of austerity in neighbouring countries killing exports?

by fjallstrom on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 02:58:12 PM EST
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Did that actually happen?
by IM on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 04:31:39 PM EST
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I don't know, it was just a suggestion. Looking at GDP per capita PPP (to get a grasp of economic living conditions) in Albania indicates that it was rising faster pre-crisis, but it is still rising.

Serbia has more marked stagnation:

As have Bosnia:

And Macedonia:

(Data is from the World Bank, graphs from tradingeconomics)

So yes, economies has stagnated in the non-EU balkans during austerity. Wheter from lack of exports, less remittances or home-grown austerity, I don't know.

by fjallstrom on Wed Sep 2nd, 2015 at 10:17:31 AM EST
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There was a link to Personal remittances, received (% of GDP) so I checked the same countries there. In Albania and Bosnia remittances are a big deal and has gone down from pre crisis numbers of 15% of GDP in Albania and 18% of GDP in Bosnia to 8.5% of GDP in Albania and 11% of GDP in Bosnia.

More or less stable for Serbia and Macedonia.

by fjallstrom on Mon Sep 7th, 2015 at 07:13:33 AM EST
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ISIS is getting stronger, and promises nothing good to the educated. An extreme case of middle class squeeze.

For comparison, there is this study by an Albanian author, mainly about the migration from Eastern Europe in the 90s:

International Migration, Social Demotion, and Imagined Advancement

Contemporary migration involves a dramatic paradox. Although much of what is considered international or transnational migration today transforms people of a wide range of social standings in the emigration countries into laborers at the bottom social and economic ranks of the immigration countries, millions of individuals worldwide seek to migrate internationally. [The book] argues that this paradox cannot be explained for as long as common preconceptions about immigrants' economic betterment thwart even questioning why individuals who are not threatened by famine or war willingly pursue their demotion abroad. Recognizing immigrants' decline as such, this book proposes viewing contemporary migration as socioglobal mobility. Revolving around an ethnographic study of the Albanian "emigration" in Greece, [the book] finds that imaginaries of the world as a social hierarchy might lie at the roots of much of the contemporary international migration. As would-be emigrants perceive different countries in terms of distinct social stations in a global order, they resolve to put up with numerous social and material deprivations in the hope of advancing internationally. Immigrants are typically thought of as aliens in their de facto home societies, however, and that makes genuine advancement all but impossible.
by das monde on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 11:24:50 AM EST
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