Gerald Knaus – How Europe should deal with the Ukrainian refugee influx


Our guest this week is Gerald Knaus, sociologist and migration researcher and co-founder of the European Stability Initiative. By way of introduction, he talks about his family and friendship connections to Ukraine, but also to Russia.

At the moment, about 4 million refugees have arrived in Europe. Depending on how long and intense the war continues, between 6 and 10 million people are expected.

Civil society has responded quickly, as it did in 2015. But the European Union has also been surprisingly quick to agree that all people with a Ukrainian passport or residence permit should be allowed to move freely in the EU, including access to the labor market and social benefits.

In the coming weeks it will be important to organize the distribution of refugees across national borders. According to Knaus, this will require an international refugee coordinator – preferably a former top politician who maintains good contacts with European governments and is universally respected.

In contrast to 2015, the willingness of broad sections of the population to help the Ukrainians is high. That is why politicians were also able to react quickly and boldly. It is to be hoped that this acceptance will be maintained and that a rapid solution will be found for the many people who have no relatives in Europe. To this end, Knaus proposes so-called hubs where people are registered and then distributed across Europe by airlift.

In contrast to Great Britain, which so far has not signaled much willingness to accept refugees, Canada extended an unlimited invitation for Ukrainian refugees.

How the border control organization FRONTEX could improve its image in this situation, what the current situation of Russian emigrants/refugees looks like and why Ukraine as well as the Balkans should be quickly linked to Europe are further contents of this interview.


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How Europe should deal with the Ukrainian refugee influx Wolfgang Müller CC BY SA 4.0