G-20 agrees migrant crisis is global issue

Besides reaching an agreement on aid for the migrant crisis, G-20 leaders said they would address the root causes of migrant displacement. They also pledged to use all policy tools to address uneven economic growth.
Besides reaching an agreement on aid for the migrant crisis, G-20 leaders said they would address the root causes of migrant displacement. They also pledged to use all policy tools to address uneven economic growth.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

EU and Turkey persuade leaders to help deal with it in coordinated way, offer financial aid

BELEK (Turkey) • Leaders of the world's 20 biggest economies (G-20) will agree today that migration is a global problem that must be addressed in a coordinated way, in a diplomatic coup for Europe and Turkey, according to a draft communique.

The leaders will also agree that all countries should help manage the migrant crisis, which is expected to bring a million people from the Middle East and Africa to Europe this year alone, through accepting refugees and humanitarian aid.

Europe and Turkey, the most heavily hit by the crisis, had been pushing for the G-20 to recognise the issue as a global problem and to help to deal with it financially, despite opposition from China, India and Russia.

"We call upon all states to contribute to responding to this crisis, and share in the burdens associated with it, including through refugee resettlement, other forms of humanitarian admission, humanitarian aid and efforts to ensure that refugees can access services, education and livelihood opportunities," the draft, seen by Reuters yesterday, said.

G-20 leaders will also agree to step up financing for international organisations dealing with migrants, as requested by Europe, and to address the root causes of migrant displacement, such as the war in Syria, the draft said.

On global economies, the leaders will pledge to use all policy tools to address uneven economic growth. The draft, which also touches on climate change and cyber threats, has yet to be accepted by all and is to be published today.

The refugee crisis is a key topic at the summit, with Turkey housing some 2.2 million Syrian refugees, but the European Union is urging Ankara to do more to prevent migrants undertaking risky boat crossings to the EU.

An unprecedented number of migrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East have headed to Europe this year in their quest for safety and prosperity.

But Friday's attacks - which the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has claimed responsibility for - in the heart of France have reignited a row within the EU on how to handle the flood of asylum seekers.

Poland has said it could not accept migrants under EU quotas without security guarantees.

Evidence has emerged that at least one of the attackers could have travelled through Europe alongside Syrian refugees, seeking asylum in Serbia.

Speaking on the sidelines at the G-20 summit, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker called on EU countries not to give in to base reactions of rejecting refugees, saying that the shooters were criminals, not asylum seekers.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2015, with the headline 'G-20 agrees migrant crisis is global issue'. Print Edition | Subscribe