Unaided Refugees Make ISIS Stronger: Europe and the Worst Humanitarian Crisis of the 21st Century

Ana Uzelac, Patrycja Sasnal
Content Type
Policy Brief
The Polish Institute of International Affairs
The worst humanitarian crisis of this century so far is unfolding daily in Europe's closest neighbourhood. Some 10 million Syrians and Iraqis have been displaced by sectarian conflicts over the past three years, and are living suspended lives in camps or makeshift shelters across the Middle East. It is as if all of Austria or Hungary was forced out of their homes. The fate of displaced Syrians and Iraqis is not only a moral dilemma for Europeans, it is a future security threat in the making. If abandoned and unassisted they risk becoming radicalised in the future, creating a potential recruitment and support base for anti-European extremism. Although the EU, and especially its better-off Member States, have already done a lot to assist the region with the refugee flow, response to the crisis should be expanded further, tailored and diversified. It should also be shouldered equitably by all EU members, in proportion to their size and national income. This crisis is too big and its consequences too far-reaching for any EU member to opt out.