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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

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UN calls for refugee strategy for Europe amidst growing crisis

(4 September 2015)

The head of the UN refugee agency, Antonio Guterres, critiqued Europe’s ‘piecemeal’ response to the 2015 refugee crisis, arguing that the response of the EU represented a ‘defining moment’ for Europe. Instead, Guterres noted that countries would need to accept at least 200,000 refugees and develop a more cohesive regional strategy involving significantly improved reception capacity.

Across Europe, countries are struggling to deal with the arrival of more than mostly Syrian refugees, who number more than 350,000 since the beginning of 2015 alone, who are fleeing conditions in their countries of origin. In Hungary, refugees attempting to travel north to the Australian border have refused to disembark from their train over concerns that they will be detained in refugee camps and not allowed to proceed to northern destinations such as Germany. Meanwhile, other trains from Budapest’s Keleti station headed northwards have been stopped to prevent migrants from onward travel.

Photographs of a Syrian child drowned with family members as they travelled from Turkey to Greece have received widespread public attention across Europe as well, putting pressure on European policy-makers to adopt more cohesive refugee policies. Plans for a European Commission visit to the Greek island of Kos to examine refugee reception capacity there have been accompanied by plans for a summit between the leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary and a meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss the ongoing refugee crisis.


Migrant crisis: EU 'must accept 200,000 refugees', UN says, 4 September 2015, by Nick Thorpe, BBC News,

U.N. demands Europe mobilise on migrants, Hungary warns of 'mass inflow,' 4 September 2015, by Tom Miles and Krisztina Than, Reuters,