As people continue to flee to the European Union from their home countries devastated by war, more Europeans are becoming concerned about allowing more refugees into their countries.
The people of the EU are not looking forward to welcoming in more refugees, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. Only 20 percent of people in Greece and Italy want to see more refugees come into the EU, citing fears of crime and job theft. Other countries have statistics that are similarly dismal. Half of the French, Polish and Spanish people surveyed feel that refugees are a burden on the country.
With the number of asylum applicants rising from 200,000 to 1,200,000 from 2005 to 2015, Europe is scrambling to find a way to handle every person in a humanitarian manner. The borders of the Greek islands swell with refugees, with Greece alone holding more than 49,000 asylees, according to CNBC.
With the crisis growing worse, Turkey had worked a controversial deal with the EU and Greece, so that any refugees who land on a Greek coast were sent back to Turkey, cutting off a primary migrant route to Europe. However, deportations were paused on Tuesday, a day after they began.
After the recent terror attacks in Paris and Brussels, people are growing more wary of refugees. The people of Greece are starting to speak against refugees, and security at the ports is growing tighter, according to CNBC.
Nikos Toskas, Greek Minister of Public Order, spoke against fear for the worried public in a televised address.
“There is no reason for concern in Greece. For historic reasons, our country is not a target, but we must be vigilant, because many people come through our country and we cooperate with other governments,” Toskas said to the people.
However, the crisis continues with little hope of relent. Patrick Roche, a professor at John Brown University’s Lakeside Manor in Northern Ireland, says that the crisis is only just beginning, citing the unstable political foundations of the Middle East.
“The current conflict means that a number of these Middle Eastern states are in a process of ceasing to exist. This is indisputably true of Syria and Libya and may be the case in Iraq. These considerations mean that the refugee crisis facing Europe is only just beginning,” Roche said.
Andreas Linderyd is a Swedish resident from Stockholm and ethics and trademark researcher at Ersta Sköndal High School. Linderyd said the crisis has been handled poorly.
“Had the EU met together and all the member countries taken responsibility, this would not have become a crisis,” Linderyd said. “Maybe a shortterm challenge. As a whole, the EU has done too little.”
According to a graphic by the BBC, Sweden had the second highest number of applicants in proportion to its population in 2015, with 1,667 applicants per 100,000 local residents, following behind Hungary.
“Sweden is a tolerant country, but at the same time, there exists a growing nationalistic and xenophobic mentality in Europe, which lately even Sweden suffers from,” Linderyd said.
Linderyd said that there was only so much that could be done by individual countries without a larger base of support.
“Some countries’ resistance to assist migrants means that it will be tough for other countries that want to help, but can’t do it alone,” Linderyd said.