As the large-scale influx of refugees into European countries continues, the European Union has proposed to distribute around 160,000 refugees across the 28-nation bloc. The decision has already ruffled a few feathers of poorer East European nations for whom it will be an uphill task accommodating newcomers.
The EU has largely dithered in thrashing out a cohesive approach to the crisis with nations like Slovak, Serbia and several former Eastern Bloc countries rejecting mandatory quotas for distributing refugees among the bloc. “We will never support the compulsory quotas,” said Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said earlier on Tuesday that “Serbia is not a collection center”. “We want to be part of the solution, not collateral damage. There will have to be talks in the coming days with Brussels and other countries,” he added. Although the four major EU nations like Germany, Italy, France and Spain are in favour of the new plan, the odds of the proposal being adopted seem to be growing.
Czech Republic has openly blamed Germany for the migration crisis with Interior Minister Milan Chovanec saying on Twitter, “The current biggest problem of solving migration is an inconsistent policy of Germany.”
However, Germany, rejected the view that they encouraged migrants to come towards Europe by sending welcoming signals. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that “the world said that was a nice gesture, and that came from people’s hearts,” adding that “If we start having to apologize for showing a friendly face in emergencies, then that isn’t my country.”
A surge of migrants across Europe
Violence, poverty and political instability in the Middle East and Africa are driving thousands of people to seek refuge in Europe. According to data by The International Organization for Migration, more than 360,000 people have fled this year, compared to 280,000 in 2014. Around 2,800 are known to have died along the way.
(With inputs from AP)