The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the French President, Francois Hollande, met on Monday night to discuss their new initiative in response to the biggest migrant crisis since the Second World War. The meeting took place after at least 2000 migrants entered Serbia from Macedonia earlier this week.
Merkel and Hollande agreed that Europe is in a crisis situation and it should share the responsibility of refugees and asylum seekers equally with a unified asylum system. The leaders agreed that both countries would implement the right of asylum fully. They proposed that a list of “safe countries” be drawn up so refugees could be differentiated from economic migrants. A further initiative was proposed to install new registration centres in Italy and Greece, the first stop for many migrants arriving from the Mediterranean.
Both the leaders were talking about having an EU summit regarding the issue, however, the European Commission President, Jean Claude-Junker, said that it was unnecessary. Claude-Junker has previously been striving to distribute 60,000 refugees across the continent. As a matter of fact he wrote in France’s Le Figaro newspaper, “What we need, and what we are sadly still lacking, is the collective courage to follow through on our commitments - even when they are not easy; even when they are not popular. Instead what I see is finger pointing- a tired blame game which might win publicity, maybe even votes, but which is not actually solving any problems”
With Germany expecting 800,000 asylum seekers this year, Merkel has decided to disregard the Dublin regulation under which asylum seekers must apply in the first country of arrival. It has decided to accept all Syrian refugees instead of deporting them back. Many countries such as Britain have sought protection under this act to deny refugees asylum in their countries. The actions taken by Germany has prompted many questions and criticism as to why Britain has failed to make similar efforts regarding the matter, putting pressure on the British Prime Minister, David Cameron. On the other hand, Germany received praise from the United States’ President, Barack Obama this week.