Europe Struggles to Manage Migrants

Sep 02, 2015, 05:16 PM

The latest horror story from Europe's migration crisis concerns 24 young Afghans freed in Austria from a van that had been padlocked and welded shut. They were, the police said, on the point of suffocation. Last week Austrian police found 71 dead bodies inside a lorry which had travelled from Hungary. 700 migrants have crossed into eastern Austria from Hungary this week alone - mostly in lorries and vans. The former Belgian Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt, has told the BBC that Europe urgently needs a common asylum system if it is to get a grip on the refugee situation.

Mr Verhofstadt, who now leads the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament -- says the EU needs to set up ways to assess asylum seekers near their countries of origin, so they don't have to risk dangerous journeys to Europe.

But the migration crisis is something that has ministers across Europe scratching their heads. How to balance the humanitarian needs of desperate people against the political reality that the continent cannot absorb as many people as want to come.

Economists, too, are looking at the possible solutions, including our regular commentator, Roger Bootle of Capital Economics.