Thursday 8 December 2016

How is Europe handling the massive influx?

Published 02/09/2015 | 02:30

A group of migrants crosses the border walking on the railway track from Serbia into Hungary, near Roszke. AP Photo
A group of migrants crosses the border walking on the railway track from Serbia into Hungary, near Roszke. AP Photo

Why has the migrant crisis come to a head right now?

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A surge of desperate migrants has dramatically increased over the summer months, putting unprecedented pressure on European borders.

Huge numbers have been crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy in makeshift boats or rafts, suffering appalling conditions en route. Thousands have died trying to make the crossing.

The International Organisation for Migration says that more than 350,000 migrants were recorded at the EU's borders so far this year, compared with 280,000 for the whole of 2014.

Where are the migrants coming from?

Some of the largest groups include people from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia. Conflicts in the Middle East and Africa are driving the migration, which has been termed a global refugee crisis.

Is the EU really taking the brunt of the refugees?

UKIP leader Nigel Farage warned that the EU had opened the door to an "exodus of biblical proportions".

But on a global scale, European Union countries host a relatively small share of refugees. Turkey is host to the world's largest number of refugees (1.59 million), followed by Pakistan (1.51 million).

Where are the migrants headed for in the EU?

Germany is expecting 800,000 refugees to arrive this year.

In the past 24 hours the Germans have registered more than 3,500 refugees.

Others are heading into Eastern European countries including Macedonia and Serbia.

The EU's Dublin Regulation places responsibility for examining an asylum seeker's claim with the first EU country that the migrant reached.

But Greece and Hungary are among those struggling with sheer numbers arriving.

What is Ireland doing to help the situation?

Ireland will be accommodating more than 1,000 refugees over a two-year period.

However, the Government has warned that we must not take in more migrants than we can realistically house.

Naval boats LÉ Eithne and LÉ Niamh have been involved in rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

Irish Independent

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