EU migration: Achmed’s story
A group of high-school students recently followed a common Balkan refugee trail. The trip was meant to expose them to the stories of refugees like Achmed. Here is Achmed’s story — just one example of the EU’s failure to protect and provide for its vulnerable new arrivals.
Achmed left his home in Iraq at the age of 15. Being a minor, he got the necessary paperwork and passed relatively easily through Greece and later Croatia. And he hoped to finish his education in Europe.
But in Slovenia he was told he didn’t have the right papers, and without much explanation, Achmed was sent back to Zagreb. There, he ended up in a residence for troubled minors and refugees —troubled or not. Two years later he was sent to an asylum centre for adults.
Now, at 18, Achmed has lost his right to education — replaced with a mandate to find immediate employment. In the meantime, he has an allowance that covers the rent and he is living off food packages.
This is a typical example of the European refugee policy, which create impossible barriers even for those who deserve protection unambiguously. National governments pass on the responsibility to their neighbours, while host countries lack both resources and political will to provide adequate support. The irony of it is that many problems in this crisis are self-inflicted. Talents are wasted and bureaucratic resources are squandered sending the needy anywhere else.
At Diem25, we imagine a future where this all this energy is directed to the creation of new opportunity for migrants. By providing a coherent European framework with widespread support, countries can share the burden. And so, instead of focusing on borders, they can focus on people.
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