Barbara Kolm, Director of the Austrian Economics Center, was recently quoted in an article about the refugee crisis published by the National Review. Written by Jillian Key Melchior, the article presents the citizens’ fears, anxiety, and frustrations posed by the refugee crisis and the way how the EU and national governments have so far responded.
“… So far this year, more than 522,000 foreigners crossed into Europe by the Mediterranean Sea alone, the majority landing in Italy and Greece, according to the September 29 count by International Organization for Migration. An additional 2,892 perished attempting the voyage…
“War refugees should receive help from Europeans, says Barbara Kolm, president of the Hayek Institut and director of the Austrian Economics Center. But a sizable number of Europeans are less eager to foot the bill for other migrants, including many from Africa and the Balkans, who are not fleeing immediate peril but are seeking to improve their economic wellbeing.
“ ‘All of the European sovereign nations are in a sovereign debt crisis,’ Kolm says. ‘They all have a huge debt problem. How will you pay for all these services you give away for free? . . . This is redistribution on an international level.’
“Europe’s rigid bureaucracies further complicate the matter, Kolm says. One friend wanted to use his own private funds to provide dinner for refugees — but the government told him no, it didn’t pass regulatory muster, Kolm recalls. Some families have been forbidden to host refugees because their homes would fall into commercial-zoning categories, she says. And perhaps most outrageous, some bureaucrats, she adds, have fretted whether the doors of private homes were too narrow for disabled refugees, disqualifying volunteers who want to offer help on their own dime. Consequently the costs are covered by taxpayers, instead of by charitable volunteers who stand ready to help.”
The AEC’s fundamental goal is to promote a free, responsible and prosperous society. Through education and improving public understanding of key economic questions, the AEC promotes the idea of a free market economy and the ideal of a free society.