Rather than claiming asylum in the first safe European Union country they reach, most head on toward wealthy northern states.
The European Union prides itself on cementing peace among countries that until World War Two fought bloody battles and fostering prosperity by removing internal barriers among its member states through the so-called Schenghen agreements. While the leaders are expected to sign off on any proposals agreed by justice ministers, they will also discuss more long-term measures.
But Germany swiftly reneged on the relaxation of the rules and now the country’s interior minister wants to cap the number of refugees in Europe.
“These occasions may be the last opportunity for a positive, united, and coherent European response to this crisis“, Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, said in Geneva last week. According to the ministry of the interior, the country is expecting at least 800,000 migrants to arrive this year – and possibly even up to one million.
Championed by Germany, which is bearing the brunt of the migrant crisis, the new plan would distribute asylum seekers proportionately across states.
Syrian migrants are more likely to be granted asylum in Europe as opposed to economic migrants, a policy that has encouraged many travelers to dump their non-Syrian documents upon arriving in Europe or purchase phony identifying papers in Turkey. They saw their numbers more than double, registering increases of 159 and 123 per cent respectively.
Almost 2,750 people, including children and babies, have perished in the Mediterranean since the start of the year, as the often overcrowded and rickety vessels taking them to Europe have capsized.
British prime minister David Cameron has said his country will take 20,000 – but only from Syria and over a period of five years.
“Its plain to see that Macedonia has a problem with police violence against asylum seekers and migrants“, said Emina Cerimovic of HRW.
“It is absolutely right that Britain should fulfill its moral responsibility to help those refugees just as we have done so proudly throughout our history,” he said.
Overwhelmed by refugees, and in a bid to better regulate the influx and catch human traffickers, Berlin on September 13 decided to temporarily reintroduce passport checks on its borders, though it still allows the migrants into the country.
The hundreds of thousands overwhelming Central Europe and seeking asylum in richer Germany and Sweden mostly journey across the Balkans.