Europe opens borders, doors to refugees fleeing conflict
2015-09-15 12:43:17 -

By Margot Garnier


France will accept 24,000 refugees escaping conflict in Syria, Africa and elsewhere over the next two years, the country’s president has announced.


Asylum is “part of the history and soul” of France, said President François Hollande during a press conference in Paris on Monday 7 September.


It’s believed some of these refugees would come from the thousands currently crossing the open borders of Austria and Germany from Hungary after making a trek of thousands of kilometres from the Middle East.


President Hollande added that “control centres” will be organised to identify migrants who would have right to asylum, while those who do not meet the criteria for refugees will be deported.


The statement comes after more than 20,000 migrants reached Germany over the first weekend of September.


In a recent interview, Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said the country is expecting more than 800,000 asylum seekers in 2015 alone, and would take more in the future if necessary.


Vice Chancellor Gabriel added that Germany can cope with at least 500,000 asylum seekers every year for several years.


Highlighting migration as one of the most serious issues facing Europe since the establishment of the European Union, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that every country in the EU must play their part. 


“What isn’t acceptable in my view is that some people are saying this has nothing to do with them. This won’t work on the long term.”


Chancellor Merkel recently announced that Germany would spend €6bn in order to accommodate asylum seekers.


British Prime Minister David Cameron also recently announced that his country was ready to resettle 20,000 refugees and asylum seekers between now and 2020.


Meanwhile, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has announced the setting of migrant quotas for EU member states.


Under his plans, 120,000 migrants who arrived on the borders of Greece, Italy and Hungary would be relocated. 


He reiterated his position in his State of the Union address on 9 September, after which he told MEPs: “It’s 160,000 refugees in total that Europeans have to take into their arms and I really hope that this time everyone will be on board – no rhetoric, action is what is needed.”


But opposition to his proposals is strong, and in June his previous target of 40,000 migrants was not agreed.


Despite not being part of the Shengen Agreement, Ireland has agreed to take in 600 refugees so far this year. 


Speaking about Ireland’s role in the migrant crisis, Tánaiste Joan Burton said the country could take 5,000 or more migrants as programme refugees who would therefore avoid the direct provision system for asylum seekers.


Those figures have been contested by coalition partners in Fine Gael, with Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald stating that Ireland is ready to accept around 1,800 refugees – with 8,000 voluntary offers of accommodation from the public to be examined.


Minister Fitzgerald said the Government’s response would be “humanitarian, compassionate, prompt and concerted but also sustainable.”

TAGS : France Syria Africa François Hollande David Cameron Jean-Clade Juncker
Other Immigration News
Most Read
Most Commented