UPDATE 26/11/2015: Is the ongoing refugee crisis turning people against the European Union? French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has told journalists that France will not accept more than 30’000 refugees over the next two years, otherwise people will say “enough of Europe”.
In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, there are widespread security fears over the influx of refugees (despite all of the attackers having been EU citizens). Already, some EU Member States have reintroduced border controls, temporarily suspending the passport-free Schengen zone.
Meanwhile, Germany is keen to push ahead with a controversial quota system that would see asylum seekers redistributed automatically throughout the EU. Indeed, this system is so important to the German government that Chancellor Angela Merkel believes the future of Schengen is at stake. But do ordinary European citizens agree with her? And can policymakers introduce the quota system without being met with a cry of “enough of Europe”?
ORIGINAL 26/08/2015: Germany has agreed to stop automatically deporting Syrian asylum seekers to other EU countries. The surprise move means that people fleeing the Syrian civil war will no longer be subject to the controversial ‘Dublin System’, which stipulates that asylum applicants should be processed in the country where they first arrived in the European Union.
Border countries within the EU, foremost among them Greece and Italy, have long argued they are unable to cope with the numbers of migrants arriving on their shores. However, proposals by the European Commission for a mandatory quota system to distribute refugees equitably among the 28 EU Member States were rejected earlier this year.
EU countries did eventually agree to distribute 32,500 asylum seekers from Syria and Eritrea over the following two years (though even that was revised down from the original proposal of 40,000). The scheme has been described as a ‘token gesture’, given that more than 600’000 migrants entered the EU last year, and the numbers this year are expected to be many times greater.
The migrant crisis has been provoked by a combination of factors, including conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, human rights abuses, extreme poverty, as well as instability in Libya that has allowed people smugglers to operate freely.
Should the EU adopt a quota system for refugees? Or should the burden fall on the countries where asylum seekers enter the EU? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!