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5 EU Migrant Crisis Update Facts - WMNews Ep. 44

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Angela Fafard. While thousands of migrants continue to make the arduous journey to Europe, the European Union must come up with a concrete plan to stop the loss of life. Welcome to WatchMojo News, the weekly series from where we break down news stories that might be on your radar. . In this installment, we are updating our initial WMNews piece with 5 new facts you should know about the ongoing 2015 EU Migrant Crisis. For more background information and an introduction to this issue, please check out part 1 by clicking the link below.

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5 EU Migrant Crisis Update Facts - WMNews Ep. 44

#5: Who Is Making the Journey?
The Migrants

For several years, thousands of men and women have been making the arduous trek from the North of Africa to Europe in the hopes of attaining a better quality of life. Historically, a large majority of migrants were from Syria, Eritrea, Mali, Nigeria and Gambia, with an overwhelming proportion of those being male. This trend has continued in Syria, due to the ongoing and deadly civil conflict beginning with the 2011 Arab Spring protests that have led to the deaths of over hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement at least a third of the country’s population. Between January and August 2015, over 350,000 migrants were detected at the European Unions borders, as opposed to 280,000 in all of 2014.

#4: Where Are the Migrants Going?
The Eurozone

Under EU law, the Dublin Regulation requires that all refugees who have filed for asylum must remain in the country where they have filed until the application is processed. Illegally crossing into another country would result in the refugee being sent back to the original nation. This law, therefore, placed a heavy burden on countries nearest to those fleeing, like Italy, Spain and Greece. To address this situation, Germany decided to suspend the regulation for Syrian asylum-seekers at the end of August 2015. This move was especially significant given the fact that Germany received the majority of asylum requests, with over 188,000 coming in by the end of July 2015. At that point, Germany estimated that by the end of that year, the country would receive over 800,000 asylum applications. The crisis led many critics to wonder whether Europe should shoulder the responsibility for the migrants alone, or whether Western countries and the Gulf States should share accountability. In an extreme stance, Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, was accused of articulating anti-immigrant rhetoric when he raised questions about what an influx of mainly Muslim migrants would do to primarily Christian Europe. In an effort to accept some of the duties, countries like the United States did pledge support and technical expertise by sending its Coast Guard and financial aid to assist the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

#3: Are Fellow Gulf States Helping?
The Political Stability

There was harsh criticism aimed at the majority of the Gulf States, particularly Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the UAE, which staunchly refused to open their borders to the Syrian population. Gulf nations are primarily populated by contracted workers who return to their home countries once their work contracts are finished. For example, only roughly 10% of the populations of Qatar and the UAE are actually citizens of those countries; the rest are mainly transient workers. These nations believe they must keep a delicate balance in terms of demographics, and an influx of refugees would upset that. This is in stark contrast to the policy of neighboring country Lebanon, which has let in over 1.5 million Syrian refugees since the Syrian crisis began in 2011. However, Gulf States have not completely abandoned their neighbors, as they’ve provided nearly $900 million through charities and private contributions.

#2: What Is the Current Death Toll?
The Shipwrecks

The United Nations has described the crisis in the Mediterranean Sea as a “tragedy of epic proportions.” According to the International Organization for Migration, from January to April 2015, the refugee death toll was 18 times higher than it was during the same period of the previous year. As of September 2015, the death toll in the Mediterranean Sea had reached upwards of 2,600. Among the dead were 71 unidentified refugees that were found inside an abandoned truck on an Austrian motorway at the end of August 2015. The crisis was further highlighted when a picture of 3-year-old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, surfaced, showing the child’s drowned and lifeless body lying in the sand at a beach resort in Bodrum, Turkey. The photo and his story quickly went viral on social media, prompting worldwide sympathy and widespread condemnation of EU officials’ handling of the migrant crisis.

#1: What Is the Proposed Solution?
The Future

Though efforts have been made to harmonize the laws across the European Union, the region has struggled with its asylum policy, as many member states have their own regulations. Due to the increasing number of migrants arriving at the borders of EU countries, the leaders of the EU called an emergency meeting for September 14th, 2015. Those talks were expected to touch on the issue of quotas, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example, insisting that a quota was the solution needed to divide the number of refugees equally among the member countries. However, since many central European countries – and Europeans in general – strongly oppose the quota plan due to a lack of the resources necessary to take in such a large number of migrants, those talks are likely to be heated.

Did these facts make you think? To vote for which news story is covered next, head over to WatchMojo.comsuggest, and be sure to hit that subscribe button for more newsworthy top 10s published every week.

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