Ambassador Peter Schatzer is a migration expert who has worked with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). He currently represents the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean as permanent observer at the United Nations in Vienna, Austria
How do you describe the response from Europe to the migration crisis?
First of all, it is more than one migration crisis. There are many aspects here, from boats arriving at Greek islands, people been rescue on the coast of Libya to countries such Poland facing thousands of Ukrainian, that came not as refugee but as workers. It is illusion to think that there´s only one response. At the moment, media are focusing on the flows that came from Syria, Greece and then up to Austria, Germany and Sweden and the flows from Libya which had different categories of people. Therefore, each situation needs to be treatment differently. In many parts of Europe, migration isn´t a crisis. We need to clarify what issues are and try to deal with it.
Every country should have different responses?
The problems are different from countries to countries. France has the problem with the people who want to go to United Kingdom. It is complicated to expect that Europe as a whole give an answer when problems and issues are different. The answer is coordinated, but looks at the individual situation of each country or group of countries.
What is the main challenge of integration?
Our challenge is to make them understands that our society works slightly different from the ones they came from, like religion. It can be done, but it takes time and it is necessary a lot of effort and investment.
Which is the best way to integrate the migrants in European countries?
Integration cannot be solved in Brussels or in the central government in Lisbon. Integration happens in the community. There are so many different players, but the burden of solutions is in the local administration.
How is possible to solve the problem in Mediterranean?
We have to look at each south country of Mediterranean. The situation in Libya is very difficult to manage because they are overwhelmed by thousands of African migrants. Italy is receiving help to redistribute some of this people. In Greece there are many people in rudimentary camps. The same solutions cannot be applied to all countries.
How important was the declaration in United Nations approved last year?
It is a very good step. United Nations has finally agreed to talk about migration because in many years it was too controversial and only for individual countries, but the time for big international treaties is possibly over, for the moment. I don’t see much chance for any binding international treaty or convention.