Angelina Jolie’s EU lecture:
In the lecture today she also claimed there was a “race to the bottom” between European countries to reintroduce border controls.
The American, who is an ambassador for the UN’s refugee agency, said “fear of migration” could threaten world peace, adding that “strength lies in being unafraid”.
Jolie, who is the wife of actor Brad Pitt, was speaking at a special event organised by the BBC to debate the effects of mass migration across the globe.
In her keynote address she railed against the EU’s response to the migrant crisis, saying the continent is not making as great a sacrifice as Middle Eastern countries like Turkey and Lebanon.
She argued simply closing the door to migrants will not keep Europe safe, arguing instead Western countries have an “international responsibility” to take in those fleeing war and persecution.
During her address Jolie told the room “fear of uncontrolled migration” had “eroded public confidence” in the current refugee system, lending “a false air of legitimacy to those who promote politics of fear and separation”.
She said: “On the one hand the refugee crisis has produced great acts of generosity and solidarity with refugees here in Europe and in other parts of the world.
“On the other hand fear of uncontrolled migration has eroded public confidence and the ability of Governments and international institutions to control the situation.
“It has given space to a false air of legitimacy to those who promote politics of fear and separation. It has created the risk of a race to the bottom, with countries competing to be the toughest, in the hope of protecting themselves whatever the cost or challenge to their neighbours, and despite their international responsibilities.
“But since no country can seal itself off from the impact of the refugee crisis such a free for all would lead to an even greater set of problems.
“It would amount to the worst of both worlds failing to tackle the issue and undermining international law and our values in the process.”
She added: “Strength lies in being unafraid. Whether we succeed will help define this century… the alternative is chaos.”
The American star quoted UN figures suggesting that more than 60 million people – one in 122 of the world’s population, have been displaced from their homes in recent years.
She said: “This tells us something deeply worrying about the peace and security of the world. The average time a person will be displaced is now nearly 20 years.”
“With this then the state of today’s world, is it any surprise that some of these desperate people, who are running out of all options and who see no hope of returning home, would make a push for Europe as a last resort, even at the risk of death?”