Volume 23 (2018) / Issue 1
The Syrian conflict, including the intervention of external actors and foreign fighters, has caused the greatest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War and a new wave of refugees seeking asylum in the European Union (EU), along with other economic migrants. Many of them have been aided by illegal people traffickers and have landed in Greece from Turkey, on Italian islands such as Lampedusa, been picked up by assets under operation Triton conducted by Frontex, the EU’s border agency, or drowned at sea. Since the Arab Uprisings started in 2011, there has been an acknowledged threat in the EU from political instability and insecurity in the Mediterranean region. However, a lack of specific, integrated and substantial EU Mediterranean responses has meant that the EU has struggled to address the insecurity and humanitarian situations. There has also been limited inter-regional cooperation to address the long-term drivers of migration. This article highlights the EU response to the Syrian refugee crisis in particular, within the context of an evolving Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and how some revisions to it could address a series of negative dynamics such as people trafficking, conflict and a lack of development.
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