On Wednesday evening EU leaders will hold an emergency summit meeting to address a growing migration problem that has quickly evolved into the largest refugee and migration crisis since World War II, resulting in an unprecedented influx of hundreds of thousands of non-Europeans into Europe’s borders this year from mostly war-torn countries in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Africa.
The U.N. reported in early September that an estimated 850,000 people are expected to arrive on Europe’s shores by 2016 from the Mediterranean.
More than 200,00 migrants have been estimated crossing through Hungary this year, according to Hungarian officials.
The latest figures released from Eurostat on September 16th indicate the number of first time asylum applicants in the EU increased by 85 percent in the second quarter of 2015 compared with the same quarter in 2014, a 15 percent increase from the first quarter of 2015.
Overall, the number of persons seeking asylum from non- EU countries into the EU 28 during the second quarter of 2015 reached 213, 200, with the largest numbers coming from Afghanistan, Albania, Syria, followed by Iraq, according to Eurostat.
Germany is expecting 800,000 asylum applications this year from migrants traveling via the Mediterranean and other land routes.
The new migration crisis into the EU has exposed competing opinions and strategies from member countries about how to handle the unprecedented migration crisis with government officials from Berlin and Brussels advocating for the new arrival of 120,000 asylum seekers to be re-distributed through a quota system across EU states based on the country’s population and economic strength.
But that accommodative policy has come under sharp criticism from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban along with other conservative leaders such as Polish opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, former Polish prime minister and chairman of the Law and Justice party who both blame Berlin for opening wide their door to migrants and waiving the application process for asylum seekers.
In recent days, Berlin has tightened Germany’s borders and is attempting to place more controls around the influx of migrants while Hungary is erecting a large fence that is causing migrants to seek alternative routes through counties such as Croatia which has struggled to process the influx of new migrants.
On Sunday European Council President Donald Tusk met in Jordan to discuss ways for the EU to support refugees in neighboring countries on the borders of Syria which have been overwhelmed with refugees.
Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Sunday that the United States plans to take in 85,000 refugees from around the globe in the fiscal year of 2016, up from 70,000 in 2015, and then add 100,000 in 2017.
Most of the additional refugees are believed to come from Syria.
The United States remains the single largest donor of humanitarian aid for those affected by the Syria crisis which has seen thousands killed and 4 million Syrians displaced from Syria.
Since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, the United States has spent $4 billion in humanitarian assistance, according to USAid.gov
Neighboring Turkey is housing 1.8 million displaced Syrians, Lebanon has accepted 1.2 million, and Jordan has taken in 629,100.