France Is Stepping Up Its Plans To Help Refugees

by Jo Yurcaba

French President François Hollande said France will take 24,000 refugees as part of European Union plans to provide asylum for an additional 120,000 over the next two years, according to USA Today. Hollande said that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on a plan that would make each EU member responsible for its share of the additional 120,000 refugees, according to UPI. Hollande also called out U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron for asking France and other countries to show "solidarity" with his plan to reform the EU to benefit the U.K. Hollande said he would not support nor discuss any EU reforms for Britain because the country was "shirking its duties" of taking its share of refugees during the crisis.

Hollande called the refugee crisis in the EU a situation that can be "brought under control," and said that France has a duty to help people who are fleeing war, according to USA Today. Hollande also said that France and Germany would ask the European commission to introduce an "obligatory and permanent" system to deal with people fleeing war zones and ensure that each EU member is doing its part in taking those who are seeking asylum. Simply put, Hollande wants those who are talking the talk, like Cameron, to walk the walk. The U.K has agreed to accept 20,000 refugees in the next five years, according to BBC News. Hollande specifically targeted the U.K. when he discussed addressing the crisis, according to the Guardian:

Every country must engage. The important word is 'obligatory' ... and permanent, meaning continuing for some time.

Hollande also told journalists that France was willing to carry out airstrikes against Syria's leader Bashar al-Assad after the regime used chemical weapons against civilians, according to The Guardian:

Faced with terrorism, France has always faced its responsibility ... some say we have to intervene on the ground in Syria. I consider it to be useless and unrealistic to send French troops there. So no, France won’t be sending ground troops to Syria, but we will be ready to conduct airstrikes depending on intelligence from reconnaissance missions. Reconnaissance flights will take place and afterwards we will make decisions. Assad is responsible for the situation in Syria. The solution is political, but a solution cannot be found that leaves Assad in place.

Unfortunately, Hollande's call for all members of the EU to join in helping resettle refugees is only being heard by a few countries. Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann said the emergency climate should come to an end and that Austria would inch "towards normality," according to UPI. Hungary has also "shirked" its duties during the crisis. The country had previously blocked migrants traveling to Western Europe and continued to build a fence with Serbia, which is the country refugees travel through when they are fleeing war torn countries like Syria.


Finally, Hungary dropped its restrictions on Friday and allowed refugees to travel to Germany, but not before holding hundreds of them at train stations and forcing some into refugee camps, according to the International Business Times. Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said a quota plan, which would require each EU member to take a share of refugees, wouldn't be enforceable because of Europe's open-border policy. He said Europe's refugee and migrant crisis is a "German problem," and called refugees who are fleeing war torn countries "immigrants," according to USA Today:

[Migrants] want to live a German life. It has nothing to do with security.

Though thousands of Britons have agreed to house refugee families in their own homes, Europe, as a whole, isn't favorable of helping refugees find asylum. According to polls, the majority of French people are opposed to an increase in refugees entering France, according to The Wall Street Journal.