Refugee crisis update: Commission still in panic while Turkey is to be added in the equation

Refugees on their dangerous voyage from Turkey to the Greek islands (TVnewsroom European Council)

Refugees on their dangerous voyage from Turkey to the Greek islands (TVnewsroom European Council)

It was only last Wednesday that Russia officially launched airstrikes in Syria which are supposed to target terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS). The attacks however aim at western Syria where “strangely” IS has no activity. Consequently, while Russia is mitigating the war in Syria backing-up Assad and his government, refugees continue leaving massively the country to find a better life in Europe.

Last week though the European Commission announced an additional funding of 801 million euros in order to tackle the refugee crisis. The latter reveals that the EU has finally taken the matter seriously and is allocating resources from other programmes in order to reinforce the management and help of thousands of migrants who flee to Europe to sustain a better life.

Furthermore, Austria has decided to send 100 experts to Greece and Italy to provide crucial support to the organization and management of the hotspots. In Germany however there are substantial internal conflicts between Angela Merkel and the Cristian Social Union (CSU) party with the latter to reveal its disapproval on Chancellor Merkel’s migration policy.

Migration discussions in the EU will peak next Monday when the Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan is going to meet Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels. This meeting is of significant importance for the next steps to follow regarding the cooperation between the EU and Turkey as regards the refugee crisis.

Russia and US fight over Syria

The civil war that has been undergoing in Syria for more than four years now has undeniably caused thousands of deaths and pushed millions of refugees to flee. The recent military intervention of Russia is complicating the current situation even further. The president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, has been asking help from Vladimir Putin with the Russian leader to respond positively by sending air forces to fight the former’s opponents.

The air strikes that were carried out during the last two days are reported to have hit rebel-controlled areas of Homs and Hama provinces.  Thus, it is showed that Russia in the end is helping President Assad and not trying to target IS, something that is also underscored by US officials.

Allegedly the US is going to support Russia’s military interference only if the latter is aiming at IS groups. More specifically, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said during the United Nations Security Council: “U.S. would not object to Russians hitting Islamic State or al-Qaida targets, but airstrikes just to strengthen the hand of Syrian President Bashar Assad would be worrisome. It is one thing obviously to be targeting ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). We are concerned obviously if that is not what is happening”.

However, the moment that Russia and the US are fighting over their interest in Syria, there are high possibilities of a war escalation which will lead to an increase in the death toll of civilians. Already 36 civilians are believed to have been killed by the Russian airplanes which hit Zafaraneh, Rastan and Talbiseh, towns in northwestern Syria. If that is true, people will start evacuating their homes even more massively and leave the country by any means possible towards safer regions such as Europe. Inescapably now that will lead to a tremendous escalation of the refugee crisis in Europe, worsening the already tensed situation.

Europe helps refugees

The EC is desperately attempting to convince the EU member states to show solidarity by adding €801 million in the refugee crisis. Out of this amount, €400 million were already supposed to be given to similar activities but 330,7 million euros are additional commitments and €70,6 million come from redeployment of resources from other budgetary programmes.

The latter means that the greater amount of money that was not intended to be channeled for the migration crisis purpose can be used in 2015, if approved by the European Parliament and Council, through the 2016 budget. This is basically a redistribution of funds in order to provide all the assistance needed to the refugees and the countries which are mostly influenced.

However, Germany is having several internal controversies between Angela Merkel and the Bavarian CSU sister party which is opposing the Chancellor’s tactics on refugee crisis. The Prime Minister of Bavaria Horst Seehofer feels like Angela Merkel has left him alone in the influx of migration waves and has stated that the situation is out of control the time that in just one month 170,000 refugees have entered the country. This shows that the Chancellor is losing power due to her will to provide shelter to refugees since countries like Hungary was unwilling to accommodate them and kicking them out for the country by using military forces or building ridiculous border fences in 2015.

Turkey and EU must really coordinate to save human lives

Next Monday’s meeting between Tayyip Erdogan, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker will certainly reveal the will or tactics of Turkey to provide the required help in the cooperation and coordination of forces aiming at the better management of the migration waves.

The president of the EC has also discussed with the leaders of France, Germany and Austria and they all have agreed that a “common approach” must be followed between Turkey and the EU in the migration issue. Consequently, it seems that there are great chances that a more permanent solution will be provided if Turkey agrees to help the EU on this heartrending problem.

All in all, it is more than clear that the migration crisis is affecting not only Europe but the whole world and hence it must be treated accordingly. This basically means that all the big economies of the world should target at bringing peace in Syria and contribute to the much needed renaissance of the country and its people.

Follow Chris on Twitter @CAnyfantis

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