Selecção, tradução, organização e introdução por Júlio Marques Mota


Pensar diferente, impactos humanitários da crise económica na Europa

Um relatório da Cruz Vermelha Internacional e do Crescente Vermelho (excertos)


(Esta parte do texto foi mantida em inglês. A vantagem evitar alterações no espírito que se imprimiu na redacção do relatório)

Tougher stance

All across Europe, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are involved in assisting migrants and asylum seekers, be it advocating for their rights and dignity, helping them to integrate into host communities or providing services which are not otherwise available, such as help with homework for unaccompanied minors or running health clinics for undocumented migrants.

A number of National Societies are reporting that the public stance on migrants has toughened during the economic crisis, among them the Austrian Red Cross, which states that:

“The government, together with EU governments and EU agencies is strongly supporting the tendency to externalize the EU asylum system and thereby they are trying to keep migrants (among them potential asylum seekers) outside the EU territory. Revisions of the asylum code usually bring tougher measures for asylum seekers and more obstacles for family reunions. In general terms the economic crisis seems to be reducing the level of solidarity within society.”

The economic crisis in Europe has affected the patterns of economic migration with more people seeking jobs in countries not affected by the crisis or in growing economies. In June 2013 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported that migration in the European Union picked up again after three years of continuing decline.

Even if the flow of people is on the increase, employment prospects remain bleak, even worse than before. According to the OECD, half of unemployed immigrants in Europe are still looking for a job after more than 12 months in their new country.

Today, thousands of economic and undocumented migrants from hard-hit countries are living under the open skies, in tents or huts in the parks, wastelands, forests and camping sites of Europe; trying simultaneously to keep their heads above water and support their families back home. At the same time, many eastern European countries have drastically reduced their social housing and emergency shelter programmes and as a result, the area is now heavily influenced by the emergence of informal settlements.

More mobility

The open borders within the EU where some countries are more affected by the crisis than others have also increased the general workers mobility. Most significant is the increased flow of job seekers from southern European countries, particularly to Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Despite the doubling of Greeks seeking work in other European countries since the onset of the crisis, remittance flowing into Greece has, according to World Bank figures, crashed from almost 2.7 billion US dollars in 2008 to a mere 618 million in 2012, as fewer have been able to find work. Migration to Spain, a traditional destination for migrants, peaked in 2007 to 2008. In 2011, after being battered by the economic crisis, the number of migrants had been reduced by almost 40 per cent. While the 2012 overall unemployment figure in Spain was at 26 per cent, the corresponding figure for foreign residents was 36.5 per cent, according to the same statistics.

Lithuania and Romania have lost 12 per cent of their population in a decade, mostly due to migration. Latvia’s population has declined by 13 per cent. Bulgaria, Serbia, and more recently, Hungary, are also losing capable workers to migration.

Countries like Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland are at the receiving end of this intra-European migration. Opportunities and exploitation According to the latest available World Bank data (2011) there are 10 countries among the 52 in Europe and Central Asia which are exceptionally dependent on remittances as part of their country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Tajikistan derives 46.7 per cent of its GDP from remittances. Kyrgyzstan is next with 27.6 per cent and Moldova third most dependent with 22.8 per cent. The corresponding figure for Armenia is 19.1, Kosovo 17.4, Bosnia and Herzegovina 10.7, Georgia 10.6, Albania 9.0 and both Montenegro and Serbia 7.6 per cent.

Moldova has traditionally been a major exporter of labour, especially to EUcountries in southern Europe, with Italy mentioned as the most frequently sought host country. Between 2010 and 2011, Moldova increased its remittance income from 1.35 billion to 1.6 billion euro. This figure is exceptionally high, and roughly one-third of Moldovans are working or seeking employment abroad.

Because of the economic crisis in Italy, Moldovans have more recently turned to the east instead. In 2011 more than 60 per cent of remittance income sent by Moldovans abroad came from Russia and Ukraine.

Remittance income comes with a price. Many Moldovan children grow up without their mothers present, because women especially are abroad earning much-needed money as cleaners or domestic workers.

Human trafficking is another price tag attached to the current situation.

Moldovans without working visa pay sums of 3,800 euro or more to human traffickers to gain access to countries abroad where they can seek work. Female migrants predominantly work in the informal sector – often in unregulated professions such as domestic work, agriculture or other services – which makes them particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. The majority of the victims of human trafficking are women and girls, who usually have to pay the traffickers first before actually earning anything for themselves or their families.

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are among those who implement programmes in the area of anti-trafficking and/or migration. Several other National Societies are leading the way in providing health services for undocumented migrants and addressing issues of increasing xenophobia, often fuelled by the consequences of the economic crisis.

Norway has experienced steep increase in the number of European labour migrants from eastern and central Europe. Not so much from the south of

Europe. However, many Red Cross branch offices report on an increase in requests from people from the south in particular.

Norwegian Red Cross



Para ler a parte XI deste trabalho, publicada ontem em A Viagem dos Argonautas, vá:


1 Comment

Leave a Reply