The Migration Crisis in Europe

Taylor Talcott, Staff Writer

The influx of migrants flooding into Europe from the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, and other countries that are war-ridden or
in political upheaval have presented Europe’s government with a crisis. Europe has commonly been a hotspot for migrants seeking asylum, or a refuge granted to migrants by a sovereign state on its own territory, but in recent years, the number of migrants has skyrocketed. Until recently, the numbers held around 100,000, but within the first nine months of 2015, over 464,000 migrants have sought asylum, not including the many that have died in the peril- ous journey across the Mediterra- nean. Massive efforts were being made to absorb the migrants who gained refugee status. However, for varying reasons, many coun- tries are closing their borders to the migrants. Internal efforts are now more geared to the creation of a force of border and coast-guard patrol, especially in the Shengen travel zone. The response of the people has taken a similar tone, with several coordinated attacks of migrants and migrant-housing facilities. Europe is one of the most dangerous destinations for irregu- lar migration, mostly due to the necessity to cross the treacherous Mediterranean Basin. An estimated 900 migrants died after a large ship containing women and children capsized off the Libyan coast. Italy was highly scrutinized for their decision to cut off search and rescue operations over a year ago, which lead to only 28 survivors from that tragedy. Incidents like this are far from uncommon, as this was the third sinking of a migrant ship that week. A second ship sinking near the Greek island of Rhodes forced Italy and others to rethink their processes, while still balancing constrained budgets and humanitarian obligations. Over 1,500 migrants have already died in the Mediterranean in 2015, which is a prominent spike(over 30 times) over the toll in previous years.

It is estimated 3,000 migrants each day reach the Balkans in their journey to reach Europe. Efforts are being made to accom- modate the migrants, but their sheer numbers and the limited resources and space have been limiting factors. The most popu- lar destinations of migrant arrival are on the coasts of Italy, Greece and Hungary, which are also the countries most affected by Eu- rope’s economic crisis. However, Germany has received the most applications for asylum out of all the countries. Originally Germany was very receptive to incoming migrants, but after receiving 40,000 migrants in one weekend, they became overwhelmed and shut their borders. The reception to the migrants in Germany, by the locals, has not been positive; there have been over 200 related attacks this year. Hungary has taken a hostile stance by building a barbed fence on its border with Serbia to keep migrants out of a formerly accessible route across Europe. Greece, still struggling with limited re- sources, has been overwhelmed by the migrants. Volunteers (both tourists and Greeks) are the main form of help; they have been offer- ing food, water, and sometimes dry clothing. The locals in Italy have shown resistance to the migrants and their absorption, which has led to a few attacks. Serbia and Macedonia have served as transit countries, housing thousands of migrants waiting for the processing of their documents to be complete. The integration of migrants into the culture and life has not been a resounding success. Many mi- grants are Muslim or from Muslim countries, which sparks disputes between the Muslim communities and the current populations. Some countries have gone as far to say they will only accept Christian migrants from certain areas.

Europe has been inundated with migrants that are fleeing from countries experiencing political unrest such as forced labor, war, deterioration of security, and poverty. Most migrants enter Europe by Greece or Italy from the central Mediterranean passage. Efforts have been made to regulate the flow of migrants and refugees, but many countries are overwhelmed or currently unwilling to help. The protection of migrants’, who be- come refugees, rights has been an ongoing endeavor, but the incor- poration of migrants into the local population has not been entirely successful. Much animosity is held by the locals and frequent attacks, such as the ones in Germany, have occurred. Overall, Europe is doing its best with the limited resources it has. However, the recent economic crisis has put on added strain, and there are still hundreds of thousands of people, and counting, that are trying to enter Europe.