Here Are The European Countries That Want To Refuse Refugees

They don't want to open the doors any wider.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker spoke harshly on Wednesday about countries that seek to keep out refugees. But his words may have fallen on deaf ears.

A number of European nations have made clear they aren't willing to welcome many newcomers, despite the current crisis. The resistance has been heard loudest in Central Europe, although Western Europe has not exactly thrown open its doors either.

"Pushing boats from piers, setting fire to refugee camps or turning a blind eye to poor and helpless people -- that is not Europe," Juncker said. "The Europe I want to live in is illustrated by those who are helping. The Europe that I don't want to live in is one that is refusing those who are in need."

Juncker announced an emergency quota system that would spread out the deluge of refugees across the EU member states. Twenty-two of the 28 states will be required to open their doors to a total of 160,000 people.

And here's what the response looks like:

Children peer from a train window at the station in Roszke, Hungary September 15, 2015.
Children peer from a train window at the station in Roszke, Hungary September 15, 2015.
Dado Ruvic / Reuters

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban called Juncker's plan "mad."

Orban prefers to see refugees and asylum seekers bypass Hungary in their journey west. He built a barbed-wire fence along Hungary's entire border with Serbia and just last week introduced a new law making any fence crossings a criminal offense.

The prime minister has even invoked religious fears about the rising presence of Muslims in Europe to defend his anti-immigration stance. "Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian?" he wrote in an op-ed last week.

Orban has also accused Germany of worsening the influx. "As long as Austria and Germany don't say clearly that they won't take in any more migrants, several million new immigrants will come to Europe," he told Austrian broadcaster ORF.

A group of Migrants charging their phones as they awaiting for the train to Austria and Germany at Budapest Keleti railway station. Friday, 4 September 2015.
A group of Migrants charging their phones as they awaiting for the train to Austria and Germany at Budapest Keleti railway station. Friday, 4 September 2015.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is "convinced that Europe does not need new plans" for resolving the crisis. He wants any cooperation on refugees to be voluntary.

Although Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has said the Czech Republic is willing to provide "financial, technological, human or material aid," the country has detained some refugees and even written numbers on their arms with felt-tip pens.

A recent poll found that 94 percent of Czechs believe the EU should deport all refugees.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said this week that "migrants arriving in Europe do not want to stay in Slovakia. They don't have a base for their religion here, their relatives, they would run away anyway." Unlike the diverse societies in Western Europe, Slovakia "has no migration experience," according to Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak.

Both Fico and Sobotka have pushed for the Schengen Area's outer borders to be strengthened to keep people out. The Schengen zone encompasses the 22 of 28 EU member states who allow travel across their mutual borders without passport or customs controls.

Xenophobic rhetoric has begun to pervade Slovak culture. Television ads depict a Slovak family rejecting foreign and diseased chickens, opting instead for well-bred domestic chicken.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has said his nation is only willing to take in a total of 1,785 refugees and plans to reject Juncker's proposed allotment of 4,646.

Because Romania is not part of the Schengen Area, it doesn't expect to face the same heavy waves of refugees and migrants. "This can't happen. ... We're not part of Schengen, and migrants must fulfill some rules if they want to enter Romania," Iohannis said on Monday.

Lest it seem like the resistance to accepting refugees is confined to Central Europe, note that Denmark has also taken a stand against helping. The Western European nation is reacting to the rising power of right-wing parties there. Most notably, the Danish People's Party finished second in the parliamentary election in June and has pledged to strengthen border control and cut the number of asylum seekers.

Denmark's anti-immigrant tactics have been targeted and strategic. The Danish government spent 30,000 euros on an advertising campaign in major Lebanese newspapers discouraging migration to Denmark. The ads touch upon all of the difficulties of assimilating in Denmark: Newcomers must learn the language, those granted permanent residency cannot bring their families over for one year, and welfare benefits for refugees have been slashed by 50 percent.

Western European countries generally are struggling with the tide of refugees, despite having advocated for the new quota system.

France announced Monday that it would accept 24,000 asylum seekers, which many view as an inadequate number. Germany expects up to take in 800,000 refugees and asylum seekers by the end of the year. According to a poll in Le Parisien, 55 percent of French people are opposed to increasing the number of refugees the nation accepts the way Germany has.

British Prime Minister David Cameron argues that his country has a "moral responsibility" to welcome Syrian refugees, yet he announced on Monday that the U.K. plans to accept only 20,000 over a five-year period. In an emergency Parliament debate on Tuesday, the Labour Party fiercely criticized that plan as simply "not enough."

Popular in the Community


What's Hot