“Europe has got to play catch up” on refugee and immigration policies, International Rescue Committee chief executive David Miliband told Euronews’ Raw Politics team.
The President of the International Rescue Committee was in Brussels for the European Development Days, an annual development summit that this year will highlight inequality.
Miliband spoke to Euronews about the ongoing global refugee crisis, saying that it is the duty of government to manage the flows of people but that refugees shouldn't be used as "scapegoats for the failure to develop a sensible immigration policy".
"We warned that an explosion was coming because Lebanon and Jordan were coping with all of the Syrian refugees in Turkey. Europe was focused on the Greek crisis and on the Ukraine invasion by the Russians,” Miliband told Euronews presenter Tesa Arcilla.
“It didn’t have in place an entry and exit checking system. It didn’t have in place a relocation system. So we’re saying now, Europe has got to play catch up. But that’s not a reason to believe that simply putting up walls is going to sort out the problem. It’s not,” he continued.
There are currently record-breaking levels of forced displacement in the world.
An unprecedented 68.5 million people have been forcibly displaced globally, including those who are internally displaced, those who are refugees, and those who are asylum seekers, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
According to Eurostat, 580,800 people applied for asylum in the European Union for the first time in 2018.
Miliband says that addressing integration is straightforward.
"The recipe for success is not difficult: don’t put them on a training course, get them into work,” he said.
The former UK foreign secretary also weighed in on escalating tension in the Middle East after two oil tankers were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz.
The United States has blamed Iran for the suspected attacks.
"One’s got to be concerned about attacks on ships in the Gulf. One’s got to be concerned about the Iranians who have followed the nuclear agreement until now saying that they’re going to push the boundaries," Miliband said.
"It’s also important that we say very clearly whoever is attacking these ships in the Strait of Hormuz, that that is a very serious breach of international law as well."
The full interview will air Wednesday on Euronews' Raw Politics at 6 pm CEST.