"The word refugee crisis suggests that it is something new", prof.dr. Peter Scholten argues when talking about migration to the West. "But this is not the case. It is not a crisis, but rather a tragedy for the ones who are in it."
Peter Scholten is professor of Migration and Diversity Policy at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam and scientific director of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre Governance of Migration and Diversity. "I find it important that we as scientists continue to tell this story, despite the political color we are talking to, whether this is left or right, progressive or conservative."
In an interview with Studio Erasmus, Scholten reminds us of earlier refugee flows: "The refugee influx to Europe is much older. Sometimes it increases and sometimes it decreases. It is a structural phenomenon as long as there is unrest and inequality in the world. In the 90s for instance, refugees came from former Yugoslavia, in the end of the 90s from Iraq and beginning 2000 from Afghanistan." He argues that the word crisis implies a powerlessness and unwillingness to react adequately and requests an emergency response while it is a governmental issue.
Scholten also warns of simple solutions and metaphors such as building a wall: "Migration is a complex issue and will always be there, but this does not mean that you cannot do anything about it. You can take a look at the causes of migration and the correlation with policies such as in agriculture. It is international inequality which leads to migration and if we consider migration important, we have to look at equal economic opportunities." Scholten closes with the statement that he hopes that there will be a "fairer, more realistic, and more fact-driven narrative of migration."