As the situation grows increasingly dire, European countries open their doors to refugees
On Monday, immigration holdouts Britain and France pledged to accept tens of thousands of refugees, joining Germany in Europe’s efforts to handle the massive influx of people fleeing war and persecution.
After a summer full of headlines on the refugee crisis, culminating in the heart-breaking photo of a drowned three-year-old Iraqi boy, the pressure has finally pushed EU leaders to do something, rather than just talk about it.
Germany is many of the refugees’ top destination. The Chancellor Angela Merkel has already welcomed 20,000 migrants and has promised to commit billions in order to provide housing assistance and medical aid.
“What we are experiencing now is something that will … change our country in coming years,” said Ms. Merkel. “We want the change to be positive, and we believe we can accomplish that.”
France, reluctant to open its doors after the Charlie Hebdo attack, has agreed to take in 24,000 asylum-seekers. Britain, an even more xenophobic country, has agreed to welcome 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.
The increasingly brutal conflicts in places such as Syria and Iraq have sent hundreds of thousands of citizens in a desperate search for safety. Most take a high risk/ high reward route across the Mediterranean and Balkans in order to reach the European Union. Thousands have died trying to make this treacherous journey.
Governments are also working put a stop to the ruthless profiteers, the smugglers who charge exorbitant sums for rubber rafts unfit to make the journey.