Austria plans to take a hard line on asylum applications when it takes over the bloc’s rotating presidency on July 1. Tensions between German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party and coalition partner the Christian Social Union, chaired by Seehofer, have been brewing over Merkel’s immigration policies since 2015 and reached a new high in June. Furthermore, Geopolitical Futures concludes that the three largest and most important countries in the European Union – Germany, Italy and France – are divided, internally and externally, over the immigration question. The leaders of Germany and France recently met in an emergency mini-summit on migration to hold talks on how to tackle the immigration issue, but no concrete measures have resulted from this. Italy and Austria joined the four Visegrád countries, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, in boycotting the mini-summit. Although there has been a sharp decrease in migrant arrivals since the peak in 2015, the question of how to deal with the influx of migrants to Europe remains unanswered and seems to further contribute to the European rift, as we noted in the Risk Radar of February this year. Furthermore, we wrote about the further divide of Europe into regional blocs, a southern bloc led by France, a northern bloc led by Germany and a more eastern bloc led by Poland as the Visegrád group’s leading country.

Moreover, a recent World Bank report announced that the current migration crisis resulting in political tensions all over the world could only be the tip of the iceberg. The report concludes that in future, climate change will drive human migration more than other events. Escaping crop failure, water scarcity, and sea-level rises will lead to population shifts mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. These three risk domains represent 55% of the developing world’s populations. “We have a small window now, before the effects of climate change deepen, to prepare the ground for this new reality”, Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. Without actions against climate change, climate migration will most likely keep rising until 2050. Last year, natural disasters already forced over 18 million people out of their homes in 135 countries, according to a global report released by Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). It further shows that floods and storms resulted in major displacements, mostly in China, the Philippines, Cuba and the U.S. It also projects that Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are in the top ten highest-risk countries of displacement due to sudden weather events and Sub-Saharan Africa and Pacific regions are high-risk areas for slow climate change impacts such as sea level rise, desertification and salinization. However, “No country is immune to climate change impacts anymore”, says Sanjay Vashist, director of Climate Action Network South Asia.

With growing awareness of the causes and effects of migration, more than 500 academics have called for a science-based approach to policies on immigration and the creation of an International Panel on Migration and Asylum.

RISKS MARKED ON THE RISK RADAR AS NUMBER 1:

LARGE-SCALE MIGRATION, AFRICAN TERRORISM

The Risk Radar is a monthly research report in which we monitor and qualify the world’s biggest risks to watch. Our updates are based on the estimated likelihood and impact of these risks. This report provides an additional ‘risk flection’ from a political, social, economic and technological perspective.
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