Europe, World

Refugee Crisis Top Priority at EU Summit

European leaders have become bitterly divided in the face of the worst migration crisis to befall the country since World War Two and will attempt to find a credible solution to the issue at an emergency summit to be held this week. On Sunday, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor urged her peers to accept joint responsibility. Speaking to a group of trade unionists, Ms. Merkel said that the challenge wasn’t for Germany alone, but was for the whole of Europe so they have to act together for dealing with the responsibility instead of just letting Germany deal with it alone.

As opposed to previous weeks, Merkel spoke in a more skeptical tone as she asserted that Germany wasn’t going to shelter refugees who were coming in for economic reasons instead of escaping from persecution and war. She said that there was no doubt that Germany was a strong and big country, but it wasn’t realistic to assume it could handle everything. Donald Tusk, the European Council President who heads European summits visited Egypt and Jordan on the weekend. On Sunday, he spoke on Twitter that it would be better for the EU to help Syrian refugees in settling close to their home.

The summit will be conducted on Wednesday in Brussels and will be one of the primary topics of discussion as thousands of migrants and refugees are trekking across the Balkan peninsula or braving the seas to go North to the more powerful and affluent European countries. Finding a unified response to the refugee movement has been quite a dilemma for the 28-member bloc. It has been a test for the new members of the EU in the East, which aren’t accustomed to migration on such a large scale. A steel gate and fence was erected by Hungary at a border crossing it shares with Croatia on Sunday, the newest member state of the EU.

Croatia was overwhelmed by nearly 25,000 migrants in this week alone due to which it sent some of them to Hungary by train or bus from where they were sent to Austria. On Sunday, Austria saw an influx of 10,700 migrants from Hungary whereas 200 had already come in the day before. Most of the migrants have been fleeing poverty and war in Asia, Africa and Middle East and their arrival has led to bitter recriminations amongst European governments. One of the most notable achievements of the EU has also been undermined as countries closed their national borders temporarily.

A senior EU official said that the bloc would fall apart if there was no cooperation and the crisis wasn’t dealt with. Long-term strategies will be discussed by the European leaders for dealing with the crisis, which includes cooperating with Turkey and other countries bordering with Syria to ensure the refugees stay at home. According to Tusk, the agenda would also include greater aid for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and World Food Program. The German Vice-Chancellor had stated on Saturday that the two agencies needed 1.5 billion euros for avoiding shortfall. 

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