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Refugee crisis
 

EU asks its members to quadruple the number of refugees receiving asylum

European Council President Donald Tusk, has asked EU members to admit 100,000 refugees.

SOURCES BBC, Reuters AUTHOR Evangelical Focus BRUSSELS 03 SEPTEMBER 2015 17:35 h GMT+1
Donald Tusk, has asked EU members to admit 100,000 refugees.

European Union countries should sharply increase offers to share out asylum seekers across the bloc to relocate at least 120,000 and should set up refugee reception centres outside Europe, European Council President Donald Tusk said on Thursday.



"Fair distribution of at least 100,000 refugees among EU states is what we need to do," Tusk, who chairs summits of EU leaders, told a joint news conference in Brussels with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.



EU countries have so far committed to share about 32,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece, a number short of a European Commission proposal of 40,000. A new proposal from the EU executive is expected next week.



Tusk called for refugees' reception centres to be built close to war zones and "outside Europe, where refugee camps already exist" and also said EU leaders should be ready at a summit next month to commit much more money to the migration crisis.



 



DIVISION IN EUROPE



Tusk has warned that divisions between western member states of the EU and their newer eastern partners are complicating efforts to solve the crisis, AFP reports.



"There is a divide... between the east and the west of the EU. Some member states are thinking about containing the wave of migration, symbolised by the Hungarian border fence", he stated.



He also took Mr Orban to task for comments in which the Hungarian leader said his country was being "overrun" with refugees who threatened to undermine Europe's Christian roots.



 



Donald Tusk and Viktor Orban.



"Referring to Christianity in a public debate on migration must mean in the first place the readiness to show solidarity and sacrifice", Mr Tusk answered.



Actually, the Austrian Evangelical Alliance and the Lutheran Church have asked the government to introduce new measures to facilitate the shelter of migrants in a situation he described as a “catastrophe”.



The human cost of the crisis was also put into sharp focus on Wednesday when five children were among 12 migrants who drowned in Turkish waters while trying to reach Greece.



 



A “GERMAN PROBLEM”



Hungary's leader says the migrant crisis facing Europe is a "German problem" since Germany is where those arriving in the EU "would like to go".



PM Viktor Orban said Hungary would not allow migrants to leave its territory without registering.



His comments came as Hungarian authorities opened the main rail station in Budapest to hundreds of migrants after a two-day stand-off.



Migrants resisted efforts by police to get them off the train at Bicske, about 40km west of Budapest. Some were banging on the windows and shouting "Germany, Germany”



Police in Turkey have arrested four suspected traffickers after 12 migrants drowned while trying to reach a Greek island.



 



Migrants resisted efforts by police to get them off the train / AFP



 



EUROPEAN REACTIONS



David Cameron said on Wednesday that “taking more and more refugees" is not the answer to the EU's current migration crisis. Many inside and outside UK, have criticised his words.



But he explained his declaration today: “We will do more, we are doing more. That’s why we sent the Royal Navy to the Mediterranean. That is why, uniquely amongst European countries, we are spending 0.7% of our GDP on aid, much of which goes to those countries. We have to try and stabilise those countries from which these people are coming.”



Although he still believed that there is more to do: “As I said yesterday, we keep numbers under review, and there is always more we can do, but there isn’t a solution that is simply about taking people. It has got to be about a comprehensive solution that solves every part of the problem.”



“I would say the people responsible for these terrible scenes we see, the people most responsible, are President Assad in Syria and the butchers of ISIS and the criminal gangs that are running this terrible trade in people. And we have to be as tough on them at the same time”, he added.



On the other hand, France and Germany have decided on a joint initiative on the migrant crisis, the Elysee Palace says.



“The European Union must act in a decisive manner and in line with its values”, the statement from French President Francois Hollande said.



The two governments "have announced joint proposals to organise the reception of refugees and a fair distribution in Europe" as well as "converging standards to strengthen the European asylum system," he affirmed.



Meanwhile, citizens in several European countries have already propelled initiatives to host refugees in private homes.


 

 


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Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.