Nikita Richardson
September 08, 2015 11:51 am

If you’ve been following the civil war in Syria even a bit, then you know that citizens of the war-torn country are desperate to find a better life elsewhere. They are leaving Syria by the millions (there are an estimated 9 million refugees as a cause of this war), and many have set their eyes — and hopes — on finding a new life across the Mediterranean Sea in parts of Europe. Europe’s response has been tremendously uneven. Some countries, like Hungary and Denmark, have refused to accept refugees or barred their passage to other countries. Other nations, like the U.K., have reluctantly capitulated to international and domestic pressure, agreeing to accept 20,000 refugees through 2020. 

One of the countries that’s been most progressive on the issue of welcoming immigrants is Germany, which has more than decided to do its part and announced this week that it will likely accept 800,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015 — with more to come in the weeks and years that follow. In fact, looking ahead, the country estimates it will grant asylum to about 500,000 Syrian refugees a year — a massive sum.

Germany’s decision to grant asylum to these refugees regardless of where they arrived first in Europe is a huge step forward in the midst of this migrant crisis. It also saves many Syrians from dealing with the Dublin Regulation — a law that requires refugees to stay in the European Union country into which they first arrive — usually Greece, Italy, or Hungary — until they are granted asylum in the countries they actually want to go to, which for many means places like Sweden, Austria, and Germany.

“What we are experiencing now is something that will occupy and change our country in coming years,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “We want the change to be positive and we believe we can achieve that.”

Still, even after committing £4.4 billion to address the crisis, Germany can’t shoulder the migrant crisis alone and members of the European Union need to address this problem together. A more fluid system, one that doesn’t overburden certain countries and eases the transition for refugees, must be established to address the sudden influx of Syrians seeking a better life.

“The time for a common solution is pressing,” Chancellor Merkel said after a weekend that saw 20,000 Syrians arrive in Germany. “Only with common European solidarity can we master this challenge.”

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[Images via Twitter]

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