As thousands stream into Europe after making life-threatening journeys across the Mediterranean, Germany, along with the rest of Central Europe, is finally realizing the full scale of the refugee crisis. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, has been seen as the moral leader of the European Union’s response to the ongoing refugee crisis.
Syrian refugees have fled the country ever since the escalation of the Syrian civil war. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that over 4 million Syrian refugees have been registered, with Turkey hosting 2.1 million.
However, in Europe, refugees from the Middle East and Africa have made Germany their most sought-after destination, and according to The Wall Street Journal, the Berlin government has received domestic backlash against the open arm approach to the refugee crisis. Angela Merkel called for the suspension of the Dublin Regulation which states that if a person that had filed for asylum in one EU country illegally crosses the border into another country, they shall be returned to the former.
According to Newsweek, Angela Merkel’s response to the refugee crisis is driven by German’s history after World War II, and the opportunity to accept skilled workers as the German population continues to decline rapidly.
With that said, the immediate cost of the refugee crisis is estimated to rise to €10 billion, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung. Germany’s grand coalition is set to discuss the distribution of that cost. At the municipal level, the annual cost per refugee is estimated to be around €13,000, which includes food, shelter, administration expenses, health costs, and pocket money.
In light of the cost associated with the refugee crisis, Angela Merkel has assured the German citizens that taxes will not be raised, as reported by Reuters.
“We won’t raise taxes. And we still have the goal of posting a balanced budget without taking on new debt.”
The Chancellor has also called for the European Union to also take up the task to integrate the refugees into their society in order to create a more evenly distributed system. Pope Francis said the Vatican will offer shelter to two refugee families, as reported by Inquisitr.
“Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees who are fleeing death by war and by hunger, and who are on a path toward a hope for life, the Gospel calls us to be neighbors to the smallest and most abandoned, to give them concrete hope. ‘It’s not enough to say ‘Have courage, hang in there.'”
The Pope has also urged parishes to offer shelter to refugees making their way into Europe.
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