How should Europe best assist Syria’s refugees?
More than half a million people may have died in the Syrian Civil War, but no one knows for certain as the UN has stopped counting. What we do know is that over half the population has been displaced and many millions have fled abroad. The vast majority have been taken in by Turkey and Syria’s Arab neighbours, but many refugees are seeking the safety of Europe. Germany alone has taken in over 500,000 Syrians. Now a backlash against the influx of refugees is growing, and it is threatening governments such as that of Angela Merkel that have gone out of their way to safeguard refugees. EU President Donald Tusk says Europe is close to the limit of the number of refugees it can accept, but with no end in sight for the Syrian Civil War, people will keep coming. Should Europe do more to help some of Earth’s most desperate people? Has it shouldered too much of the responsibility already? And what practical measures should it take?
A storm of controversy has been stoked after photographs emerged of police in Nice ordering a Muslim woman on the beach to remove items of clothing following a burqini ban in 15 French towns. But is it right for governments to decide what a woman should, or should not wear? Some, especially in Western society, see the burqa as a tool of oppression against women. But for others, governments banning the clothing some Muslim women wear is an infringement of personal freedoms and, in Western society, an Islamophobic measure. Should it be up to the state to decide?
Three years after promising a referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron announced in late February that Britain will go to the polls on June 23 to answer the question: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?" If voters opt to leave, it will have profound consequences not only for the UK but for the EU and transatlantic relations. The EU is already embattled and a divorce with its second-largest economy and second most populous member state - albeit one which has always had a troubled relationship with the bloc - could inflict grave damage. The US has declared a "profound interest" in a very strong UK staying in a strong EU. Within Britain, the debate is already fierce and being fought on five main fronts: Migration, the economy, security, Britain's global influence and sovereignty.