Europe is starting to shut down the free flow of refugees

Over 1 million refugees are estimated to enter in the European Union this year as they flee the wars in Syria and other Middle Eastern and African nations.

While most of the 28 nations in the bloc pledged to take in thousands of refugees — Germany promised to take 800,000 asylum seekers in 2015 alone — the EU has started putting up barriers to manage the flow.

EU and Balkan leaders met in Brussels over the weekend and hashed out a 17-point plan to better manage the migrants. The EU said today the UN refugee council would help countries set up “reception centres” that will be dotted along the route that asylum seekers use to get to “refugee-friendly” countries such as Germany.

Each country is handling the refugee crisis differently. Some are particularly conservative when it comes to taking more asylum seekers on board. For example, at the beginning of September, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the refugee was a “German problem” — mainly because the country said all refugees are welcome to go there.

He added that Europe has improperly encouraged refugees to come into Europe’s “Schengen Area,” which doesn’t have strict border control. Proposals suggesting that European countries take in a quota of migrants based on population and wealth have made it seem like refugees should “just come because we are ready to accept everybody,” which “would be a moral failure because this is not the case,” Orban said. And because of Orban’s stance, refugees have now started going to Croatia.

On top of that, countries like Slovenia, which has a relatively small population of only 2 million people, saw 60,000 new migrants enter the country over the last week. Greece is also struggling to cope with the influx of refugees, mainly because it is already trying to tackle major unemployment, poverty and other issues stemming from austerity measures imposed on it to obtain emergency bailout funds.

“We have made very clear that the policy of simply waving people through must be stopped,”said Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Commission president to reporters in Brussels.

German chancellor Angela Merkel added at the same conference: “Europe must show it is a continent of values, a continent of solidarity … This is a building block, but we need to take many further steps.

Other points in the EU’s new plan to manage the refugee crisis includes:

  • “Discouraging the movement of refugees or migrants to the border of another country of the region without informing neighbouring countries.”
  • “Ensuring a full capacity to register arrivals, with maximum use of biometric data.”
  • “Deploying in Slovenia 400 police officers and essential equipment within a week, through bilateral support.”

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