What is the context of Europe at the moment?

The refugee ‘crisis’ occurred as a result of a combination of historical, political, economic, and social factors. While it has been ongoing for decades, the crisis has gained significant momentum in recent years.

The so-called refugee crisis began in 2015, following a considerable increase of people fleeing regional conflicts, civil wars, human rights violations, and political instability. Countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, and others have suffered from it, resulting in a massive exodus of refugees seeking asylum. Power struggles, endemic poverty, and climate change have further catalyzed the amount of people fleeing. Recent developments in Europe are showing an increase of border violence with intensified police controls, fortified borders and bigger walls. Additionally, in many bordering waters, rescue operations have stopped due to the repeated targeting of humanitarian aid workers. These trends have all contributed to more dangerous, violent and deadly journeys.

Since 2015, asylum seekers reaching Europe’s borders consistently face a stark reality: human rights violations, violence, inhumane living conditions, fortified borders and violation of the right of asylum. The overcrowded refugee camps along European borders compound the challenges, resulting in deplorable living conditions that fail to meet basic human needs. The imprisonment of refugees further exacerbates the humanitarian crisis, highlighting the urgency for a more compassionate and effective approach to address the plight of those seeking refuge.

The situation in Greece is especially unstable. In 2015, as the Syrian conflict intensified, more and more refugees are trying to reach Europe via Turkey. Shipwrecks multiplied, with over 1,200 drowned off the coast of Greece in April 2015. Greece was soon overwhelmed and unable to contain the flow of refugees. It is these massive arrivals at a very sustained rate that have been described as a ‘migration crisis’, in the face of the EU’s inability to respond in a coordinated, effective and dignified way to this situation. Nonetheless, it must be noted that Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are hosting the vast majority of Syrian refugees. Currently, in Greece, the conditions in the camps are worsening. As access for NGOs is denied, basic needs are not met.

The evolution of the refugee crisis underscores the shortcomings of the international system in managing such massive migration flows. Debates on shared responsibility, equitable distribution of refugees among nations, and the protection of fundamental rights have heightened global political tensions. It highlights the need to address the root causes of conflicts, strengthen international cooperation, and promote inclusive policies. Faced with this complex reality, the pursuit of sustainable solutions remains a moral and humanitarian imperative.

We strongly believe in the power of sport to change the narratives about refugees and asylum seekers in order to create societal inclusion.

YSR advocates for…

YSR advocates for a dignified reception that recognises individuals, treats them with respect and are valued as for the humans they are. We envision a European migration system that provides legal assistance to those seeking refuge and abolishes deportations. We aim for a faster immigration process into the host country with improved transparency in case management.

To reach that goal, the EU must establish a new comprehensive pact on migration to overcome the Dublin System and its implications. The Dublin Regulation is a European Union law which establishes the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application based primarily on the first point of irregular entry. The massive arrival of migrants and asylum seekers in Europe since 2015, highlighted the weaknesses of the Dublin System. One of the key issues is the concept of “first country of entry,” which places a disproportionate burden on countries located at the external borders of the EU. This regulation does not allow dignified reception conditions, as the focus shifts to transferring responsibility rather than collectively addressing the humanitarian needs of refugees and asylum seekers.

The EU Pact on Migration and Asylum

What is the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum?

Presented in autumn 2020 by the European Commission, it is a set of policy proposals and recommendations intended to better regulate migration flows within the EU, through a more balanced sharing of responsibilities between countries on the front line of migrant arrivals (Greece, Italy and Spain) and other countries. The aim is to avoid isolated and uncoordinated decisions between countries.

Why is the EU Pact critical?

The EU Pact is the opportunity for a new beginning, a chance for EU member states to ultimately reach a consensus on a dignified, sustainable, and predictable approach to asylum and migration.

What happened on December 20th 2023?

The Spanish presidency of the Council and the European Parliament have reached an agreement on 5 key regulations that will diminish the rights of people on the move and normalize human rights violations: “front-line countries in Southern Europe will institute a stricter asylum procedure at their non-EU borders and will be more empowered to remove rejected asylum seekers. Countries further inland will be given a choice of whether to accept a certain number of migrants or pay into a joint EU fund.

Advocacy Statements Signed

We call for a radical change in migration policies to shape the Europe we all want to live in!

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