Britain and France on Monday joined Germany opening their doors to accept tens of thousands of refugees who have been forced to flee their homes in the conflict zones of Syria and Middle-East countries. The two big nations of the Europe had off late faced criticism for not been forthcoming in accepting the refugees. The tragic humanitarian crises in Syria, Iraq and other middle eastern countries has led to thousands fleeing their homes and taking to the perilous journey through the Balkans and the Mediterranean sea to reach the EU nations in search of safe land.
The recent migrant crisis has sparked off a major debate within the nation states of the European Union. According to the United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, more than 366,000 refugees have crossed over to Europe through both the land and sea route this year alone.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is Europe’s top refugee destination, hailed the warm welcome German citizens gave to more than 20,000 asylum-seekers. The powerful Chancellor also said that the record refugee influx to Europe’s biggest economy will change the country, which was now seen by many abroad as a place of “hope”.
“What we are experiencing now is something that will occupy and change our country in coming years,” she said after more than 20,000 migrants arrived in the cities of Munich and Dortmund in the past few days alone.
“We want the change to be positive, and we believe we can accomplish that,” Chancellor Merkel added.
France too assured that it would take 24,000 more asylum-seekers under a European plan with President Hollande himself making an announcement.
Speaking on the crisis, British Prime Minister David Cameron said UK would take in 20,000 Syrian refugees from camps near the war-torn country’s borders over the next five years. The British PM even called the United Kingdom “a country of extraordinary compassion”.
However, not every part of Europe is lending good news to the refugees.
Clashes broke out between the police and the refugees on Lesbos Island in Greece. According to the Greek immigration minister, the situation on Lesbos island near Turkey was the “on the verge of explosion” with the recent arrival of more than 15,000 Syrian refugees.
Elsewhere tensions have flared too as about 40 men clashed at a Spanish migrant detention centre in Valencia late on Sunday. Five policemen were injured after dozens refugees tried to escape.
(With inputs from the PTI/Agencies)