In what is truly a crisis facing present-day continental Europe, refugees from across the Middle East, northern Africa, and southern Asia are flooding into the European Union seeking an escape from war and economic hardship. The situation has created a political emergency in Europe, as front-line countries on the borders of Europe—Greece, Hungary, Italy, and others—demand solutions, while other nations, such as Germany and Sweden, take the lead in handling the crisis.
According to an article in the Washington Post, the European Commission was set to release a proposal on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, to set up reception camps in Italy, Greece, and Hungary, from which newly arrived migrants would be relocated among the 28 European Union countries using a quota system.
The article describes a plan that would entail relocating 120,000 asylum-seekers from the front-line three countries into the rest of Europe. Germany has committed to accepting up to 500,000 migrants per year, including spending the billions of dollars it would cost to fund such a plan, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged other European leaders to enact similar plans.
Sweden, also, is on the vanguard of accepting the refugees, as the Nordic country is taking in the most refugees, per capita, of any European Union nation. Germany is accepting the largest absolute number, according to the Post article.
France and Great Britain have also pledged to take in tens of thousands of asylum seekers, while some EU nations are adamantly opposed to the quota plan. The article describes a joint statement from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland, expressing disagreement with the plan and pointing out the EU’s failure to slow down the migrant flow.
Although refugees from Syria are probably the most visible in the news of late, migrants are also fleeing war in Iraq and unstable politics and poverty in Libya, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and a number of other countries. While Europe works to absorb the migrants, Gulf Arab nations are doing “next to nothing” to help Syria’s refugees, according to a separate Washington Post article.
The article points to an Amnesty International report that the “six Gulf countries—Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain—have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees.” The report goes on to note that nearly 10 million Syrians have been displaced, with four million of those seeking refuge outside of Syria.
Amnesty International goes on to report that, of the four million fleeing, 3.8 million are located in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. That is fully 95 percent of the displaced refugees from Syria.
In America, meanwhile, the seemingly anti-immigrant Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has stated that possibly the United States should consider letting some of these Syrian refugees enter America. Trump made the statement on a September 4, 2015 call-in to the “Morning Joe” news program, probably surprising many in the political world. Trump did state, however, that “we have to fix our own country” first, while he noted the generosity with which Germany is handling the crisis.
One thing remains clear with respect to the refugee crisis: It shows no sign of subsiding anytime soon, nor will it do so, realistically, until the Syrian Civil War reaches some sort of conclusion.