But if you’re looking for the next big opportunity, Europe could very well be the best place to invest right now. The long recession in Europe may finally be over. And that could lead to stronger profits from European-based companies. So what’s the safest way to try and ride a European rebound? Investing through a mutual fund: Many funds from big money managers have a fair amount of European exposure. Take the widely held Fidelity Worldwide Fund ( FWWFX ), which has 30% of its assets invested in Europe. Holdings include Swiss bank UBS ( UBS ), German automaker Volkswagen ( VLKAY ) and French food and consumer products giant Danone ( DANOY ). The Dodge & Cox International Stock Fund ( DODFX ), one of the top 25 mutual funds by total assets, also has a 30% allocation in Europe. It owns stakes in German conglomerate Bayer ( BAYRY ) and the U.K. bank HSBC ( HBC ). Then there are funds with an even bigger weighting in Europe, like the Vanguard International Growth Fund ( VWIGX ). About 55% of this fund is invested in European stocks, such as French cosmetics leader L’Oreal ( LRLCF ) and German athletic brand Adidas ( ADDYY ). Investing via ETFs: If you want to buy a fund that focuses more directly on Europe — and pay lower fees in the process — you have many more options in exchange traded funds.
For refugees, staying at home — or ‘going back to where they came from’ — is not an option. Difficult though it may be for us to comprehend, for refugees, paying smugglers and boarding these boats is a rational decision. The problem is compounded by the lack of safe, legal routes into Europe. The Refugee Convention — a legal framework which defines who refugees are, their rights and the legal obligations of countries — recognizes that people fleeing for their lives may have to resort to illegal entry. This drives refugees to take even greater risks to escape. European countries have a legal obligation to provide protection under the Refugee Convention but during the last decade the continent’s borders have become heavily securitized, with millions of pounds invested in Frontex, the agency established by the EU to strengthen Europe’s borders and protect the continent against unwanted illegal migrants. These measures should not apply to individuals escaping war and persecution — the theoretical beneficiaries of legally sanctioned protection and compassion — but refugees are often forced to resort to the same irregular channels to leave their country of origin and travel towards safety. Europe’s formidable migration control apparatus does not sufficiently differentiate between individuals who may be in need of international protection and other migrants. In the absence of safe, legal ways to reach European territories, refugees are forced into dangerous and abusive situations, and often obliged to embrace the perils of life-threatening journeys and the unscrupulous services of smugglers. Boarding an overcrowded boat bound for Italy would possibly have been the last stage in a long and dangerous journey for many of those on that voyage. Some of them possibly didn’t even know where they were headed.