Editors Note: This editorial is in concurrence with Lucas Schaumberg’s News article covering the Syrian Refugees.
More than 175,000 Syrian refugees have poured into Europe since the onset of the Syrian civil war, now entering its fifth year. In a testament to European bureaucracy, the European Union has struggled to capacitate this influx of refugees. This inability to act with immediacy has cost the lives of dozens migrant men, women and children. Even while western European countries – Germany, France, and the U.K., to name a few – have agreed to receive varied amounts of asylum-seekers, other countries close their borders, blocking the route the refugees need to take to reach their destinations. All of this only begs the question; is the EU doing enough?
The EU’s asylum policy calls for “a joint approach to guarantee high standards of protection for refugees.” So far, after four months of bickering, the EU and United Nations have enacted a plan to impose refugee quotas on European nations. The quotas would require several EU nations to share a 120,000 incoming refugees.
This has caused a significant amount of anger in the countries that voted against the plan; Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. The Slovakian Prime Minister has vowed to defy the plan, calling it unprecedented. Words like “pathetic” and “disgraceful” peppered the tweets from European officials. Serbia publicly denounced Hungary for its use of tear gas against migrants on the border, Hungary is blaming Serbia for failing to stop migrants from throwing stones at its border police, and Slovenia expressed its anger that Croatia has begun bussing refugees to their shared border, The Seattle Times reports.
So, why is it the EU can’t seem to work together? The EU has been trying to reach a decision since May. Even now, the number of refugees continues to skyrocket, reaching well over one million people, at least 400,000 of which will need permanent residency. 120,000 is barely a dent in the enormous wave of displaced people, and the refusal to cooperate from the four nations above won’t help at all.
While the European nations quarrel with each other, thousands and thousands of refugees wait. They wait at the border of Hungary, they wait in boats trying to cross the Mediterranean, and they wait on the roads at night to be robbed of what meager possessions they have.
This isn’t a political issue, it’s a humanitarian issue. These are human beings. They’ve had their entire lives uprooted by a civil war that has left more than 240,000 dead. And now they’re told that their lives are in the hands of a group of ill-behaved world leaders?