Protecting Borders

Johannes C. van Nieuwkerk
2 min readMar 4, 2020

Regardless of the political aims of Turkey and the European Union, an estimated 4 million war-refugees currently live in Turkey. Additionally, in the Syrian Idlib province, almost 1 million internally displaced people are urgently looking for shelter.

While European countries are reluctant to absorb their “larger fair share” of refugees, Turkey (as mentioned in Refival’s October newsletter) has been facing great difficulty to steadily facilitate the current numbers. Instead of protecting vulnerable people, in both cases, focus has been placed on protecting borders.

Over the past 5 years and by applying a business development approach, Refival has proposed a number of practical solutions to effectively increase Europe’s capacity to help or assist those in need. Refival’s core message is to differentiate between the roles individual EU member states can realistically fulfill towards refugees, instead of just evenly distributing them.

For offering short-term shelter, some EU countries (mostly external border ones) are optimally equipped. Other member states are better in contributing to the adaptationof people by supplying education and European cultural integration trajectories for some years, and thus link people to the labor market demand elsewhere (on average it takes 5 years for a refugee to adapt). Finally, there are economically strong countries that are in need of labor participationof people with matching skills, and only these countries can offer more permanent settlement options to refugees.

Refival’s three-stage incubation approach targets to optimize the refugees’ wellbeing by seeing people as start-up companies in for them unknown markets, and to help them to succeed. Through sharing the required mentorship process by rich and poor EU member states and by urban and rural areas, much better synergetic refugee integration or a more appropriate preparation for their return could be achieved.

Due to a lack of funding, Refival’s activities are currently on hold. Still, if you are interested in implementing its frameworks or are aware of partners who could contribute, please contact me.