The European Union and the Balkan States on Syrian Refugees
On Sunday, October 25th, 2015, Al Jazeera reported that The European Union and Balkan states in Europe agreed to ways in which they can help refugees migration flows into the Balkans and other parts of Europe. The refugees have been coming from Syria, often through Turkey and Greece and into the Balkans. According to the report, the leaders ” agreed on a 17-point plan to cooperate on managing flows of refugees through the Balkan peninsula.” The Balkans have been received many refugees daily from Syria. The report notes that “Nearly 250,000 people have passed through the Balkans since mid-September.” Many countries in the Balkans are trying to find ways to help the refugees, but are looking for establishing cooperative efforts with European Union countries. There are a number of things that the countries are looking to do with regards to the migrant situation in Europe. Namely,
Among measures agreed upon were that 100,000 places in reception centers should be made available along the route from Greece toward Germany, half of them in Greece and half in countries to the north. The U.N. refugee agency would help establish them.
The leaders also agreed that the EU border agency Frontex would step up activity on the Greek-Macedonian border to ensure people trying to cross would be registered.
The leaders also agreed on the deployment in Slovenia within a week of 400 police officers and essential equipment through bilateral support.
It is important that the European countries are continued to provide aid for refugees as they are fleeing dangerous situations in Syria. Cooperation is necessary so that they can be effective in their dealing with migrants. Countries are strained in their helping (often arguing that they do not have sufficient resources to adequately aid refugees). Interestingly, “The agreement came about, in part, to answer a question posed by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic that the 28-nation bloc and non-EU nations like Serbia have been unable to answer since the migratory trek across the Mediterranean and through Turkey started last spring: “What we are going to do with hundreds of thousands of these people?””. And there are leaders of countries in Europe who continue to speak out against having more refugees come into the country. For example, “Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, so often the target for building border fences that diverted the flow of refugees to other nations, simply said “Hungary is not on the route anymore, so we are just observers here” (Al Jazeera, 2015). Despite this hostility by some, it is essential that refugees are granted their rights based on international human rights law such as the 1951 Convention Related to the Status of Refugees. It is for this reason that states need to coordinate food, shelter, aid, and other relief efforts, along with discussing adequate solutions for allowing refugees to claim asylum in the various states in Europe and elsewhere. With colder temperatures, it is imperative that the right support is provided for the winter. In addition, in order to ensure that these refugees have the ability to live their lives in a safe environment, the international community must be supportive and offer any help that it can to aid these individuals.