Refugees Arrive in Austria and Germany; President Obama Meets With Saudi King

colThousands of refugees from Syria and Iraq left Hungary on Friday and were driven on buses to Austria after government officials in Hungary agreed to provide transportation instead of having to confront thousands of refugees walking northbound on roads and railroad tracks.

Last week, waves of refugees were denied access to trains out of Budapest for several days and the overrun Keleti train station became a flash point highlighting the new struggle that is occurring in the EU to handle a new tide of refugees that are intent on settling in western Europe after experiencing civil war and unrest in their own countries.

Once refugees reached Austria’s border on Saturday, they were transported to Vienna and Munich in southern Germany by train and bus.

German officials are expecting 10,000 arrivals in Germany by Sunday.

Some refugees were seen carrying EU flags along with images of German Chancellor Angela Merkel whose open door policies contrast sharply with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban who has vowed to close off its southern border with a new high fence by September 15th and is upset with the quota system that Merkel is pushing on other less affluent EU countries.

In an op-ed published on Thursday in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, Orban criticized the EU’s lax immigration policies for the current crisis.

“We must acknowledge that the European Union’s misguided immigration policy is responsible for this situation” Orban wrote.

Hungary has face the arrival of 50,000 new refugees last month that entered through the Balkans and the country is seen as a gateway to EU countries in northern Europe.

Germany has an open door liberal policy towards immigration and expects to take in 800,000 immigrants and refugees this year alone, the largest number in the EU.

Creating long term jobs for 800,000 newly arrived immigrants will prove to be an impossible task with the vast majority of immigrants having no idea how to speak German and lacking the necessary skills that are needed to land good jobs.

Most will have to rely on Germany’s generous welfare system funded by German taxpayers.

Europe has already experienced challenges assimilating millions of new immigrants, with the vast majority coming from Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa whose social values often clash with secular values in Europe, especially concerning attitudes towards marriage, free speech, women, and homosexuality.

Other Arab neighbors in the Gulf such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Oman have not thrown out the welcome mat to refugees from Iraq and Syria despite having the financial resources to do so.

On Friday U.S. President Barack Obama met with Saudi officials in Washington D.C., including Saudi King Salman amid concerns over the Iran nuclear deal.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir admitted that his country was satisfied with the nuclear deal and believes that it would contribute to security across the Middle East.

The foreign minister also said that assurances were given to President Obama that efforts would be made to help the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

President Obama said in remarks from the Oval Office yesterday that he expects to have a good conversation with the Saudi king over topics varying from energy policies to political instability in Syria and Yemen.

“This is obviously a challenging time in world affairs, particularly in the Middle East, and so we expect this to be a substantive conversation across a wide range of issues. We share a concern about Yemen and the need to restore a functioning government that is inclusive and that can relieve the humanitarian situation there” Obama said.

Obama explained that the two countries shared concerns over the crisis in Syria and would “continue to cooperate extremely closely in countering terrorist activity in the region and around the world, including our battle against ISIL.”

-Johnathan Schweitzer     schweitz31@gmail.com

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