Europe virtually annulled the hospitality policy
Today, a referendum on the quotas for refugees will be held in Hungary. Citizens of the country will have to answer the question of whether the EU should introduce quotas on refugees for the countries that do not want to accept them. According to opinion polls, the majority of Hungarians will vote against the EU plan to resettle refugees. Europe is experiencing the most serious migration crisis since the Second World War, caused by armed conflicts and economic problems in the Middle East and North Africa. For example, despite a huge number of law enforcement officials, a lot of fights involving foreigners occur in German cities regularly.
The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) has noted a decrease in the number of illegal migrants arriving from Turkey, but it would be premature to say that the European Union has completely overcome the migration crisis. The number of asylum seekers entering the EU in circumvention of routes known to Brussels continues to increase steadily and systematically, and this trend has not been rectified to date. In July alone, the European Union recorded over 117,000 asylum applications, with the total number of asylum applications received by EU member countries in the first seven months of 2016 exceeding 750,000.
A complicated situation is shaping up with the implementation of already adopted decisions to relocate asylum seekers from Greece and Italy. EU countries simply don’t have enough time to process incoming asylum applications. According to Eurostat, as of late June, there was a backlog of 1.1 million applications. The situation is aggravated by current disagreements between EU member-countries regarding efforts to rectify the situation.
A complicated situation in this sphere became a leitmotif of the conference on migration issues held in Vienna on September 24, which involved heads of government from the concerned European countries, the President of the European Council and the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship.
"We hope very much that this event will promote further mutual understanding between the concerned states and eventually improve the migration situation. At the same time, we have noted that a number of European human rights activists have a critical opinion of the Vienna conference’s results. In their opinion, the conference has formalised the priority of restrictive measures in migration issues and has virtually annulled the hospitality policy," a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said.
"We assume that, while implementing measures to regulate migration flows, European states will unfailingly honour their international obligations with regard to the rights of migrants and refugees. It is also important to prevent an upsurge of intolerance, xenophobia and social tensions at a time when media outlets of various EU member-countries regularly report such incidents," she noted.
"As we see it, our partners from the European Union could make their positive contribution to assisting efforts in this area," she concluded.