News / Europe

    UN: Europe Facing 'Self-Induced Humanitarian Crisis'

    Refugees and migrants, who entered Macedonia from Greece illegally, walk between the two lines of the protective fence along the border line, near southern Macedonia's town of Gevgelija, Feb. 29, 2016.
    Refugees and migrants, who entered Macedonia from Greece illegally, walk between the two lines of the protective fence along the border line, near southern Macedonia's town of Gevgelija, Feb. 29, 2016.
    VOA News

    The United Nations warned Tuesday that Europe is near a "self-induced humanitarian crisis" because governments are imposing border restrictions and failing to work together as migrants continue to reach the continent.

    Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, said more than 130,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean this year, most of them reaching Greece.  The two-month total is near the figure for the first six months of last year.

    Some 24,000 refugees and migrants are in need of accommodation in Greece, with around 8,500 of them massed next to the border with Macedonia.

    Macedonian police fired tear gas to push back refugees trying to cross the border from Greece on Monday in the latest clashes between people seeking to move through Europe and governments trying to control the flow of people into their territory.

    The UNHCR urged Greece and Balkan countries to quickly act in order to prevent a disaster.

    Edwards said European nations pledged last year to accept more than 66,000 refugees who reached Greece, but that so far only 325 relocations have taken place.  He said Greece cannot manage the situation by itself.

    European Council President Donald Tusk is visiting Austria on Tuesday as part of a five-nation trip to work on how to handle the migrant crisis.

    A woman and children cross the Greek-Macedonian border near the town of Gevgelija, Feb. 25, 2016. Merkel has said an EU solution cannot be done in a way that abandons Greece.
    A woman and children cross the Greek-Macedonian border near the town of Gevgelija, Feb. 25, 2016. Merkel has said an EU solution cannot be done in a way that abandons Greece.

    Germany: No plan that abandons Greece

    Austria has held firm to its policy to cap the number of migrants it allows into the country.  That, in combination with measures set up by others further south along the migration route, has led to bottlenecks at borders.  Those restrictions have drawn sharp criticism from human rights groups, the United Nations and others in the EU, particularly Germany.

    "When one country defines its limit, another must suffer," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday.  "That is not my Europe."

    She said an EU solution cannot be done in a way that abandons Greece, where more than 100,000 migrants have already arrived this year.

    Tusk will finish his tour in Greece after stops in Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia.  Next week the EU will have a summit with Turkey, a country it has pressured to help stop the flow of migrants from the Middle East into Europe.

    Also Tuesday, crews in Calais, France continued dismantling part of a sprawling camp as a group of migrants protested and police kept watch.  The site has served as a home to migrants hoping to make their way in Britain.  It had grown to house an estimated 6,000 people in December and has since dropped to about 4,000 people.

    A woman falls as refugees with their children run away after Macedonian police used tear gas to dispearse refugees trying to break the gate to enter Macedonia, Feb. 29, 2016.
    A woman falls as refugees with their children run away after Macedonian police used tear gas to dispearse refugees trying to break the gate to enter Macedonia, Feb. 29, 2016.

    'A challenge for all of us'

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the refugee crisis is a problem for the entire world, and that nothing would help stem the flow of people more than ending the war in Syria.

    "It is a global challenge and it is not somebody else's problem," he said.  "It's a test of all of us."

    Kerry said the ultimate goal of diplomats like himself is to make sure people can live peacefully in their own country and not feel the need to go somewhere else.

    He highlighted the "unbelievable burden" shouldered by Turkey and other Syrian neighbors Jordan and Lebanon.  Together, they are currently hosting nearly 4.5 million Syrian refugees.  But their struggle to provide for such a big influx has led many people to seek a better life in Europe where governments have been wary of admitting too many newcomers.

    Struggling with limited resources to house migrants itself, Macedonia had briefly closed its border last week, only to re-open it but with much stricter controls, allowing only a few hundred people to pass through over the weekend - not enough to alleviate the constant influx of new arrivals as thousands come to the Greek mainland by ferries and immediately head north.

    Macedonian Police Tear Gas Migrantsi
    X
    VOA News
    February 29, 2016 5:21 PM
    Macedonian police fired tear gas as a group of some 300 Iraqis and Syrians forced their way through a Greek police cordon and raced towards a railway track between the two countries.

    Hundreds of people tried to break through the border fence from Greece into Macedonia on Monday, prompting police to fire tear gas at a group of Syrians and Iraqis.

    At least 30 people, including many children, requested first aid, the charity Doctors of the World said.

    The crossing is next to the main transit point for refugees traveling towards western Europe. Close to 10,000 people have been stranded in the small transit camp designed to hold 2,500 for brief stays.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 01, 2016 7:46 AM
    IF only the Europeans didn't help the US in their covert proxy wars in Libya and Syria, and in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Europeans wouldn't be overwhelmed now by the millions of displaced homeless migrants fleeing from those countries? .. After all their wars and proxy wars that accomplished nothing at all, [but], ended up creating millions of displaced homeless migrants, and tens of thousands of terrorists, this is the only thing the Europeans have to show for their stupidity? .. Maybe next time they'll think before attacking other countries, on the repercussions that it'll cause? .. Give the Europeans sympathy, it doesn't cost anything?
    In Response

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    March 01, 2016 12:57 PM
    meanbill, I think you give the US government far too much credit. Fifteen years or so ago America's so called allies were waging an non military war against it. There was a trade war, they used climate change as a political stick when the US was the number one CO2 producer, they wanted a multipolar world, the would do anything to hurt the US. 90% of the populations of most European countries and 50% of Brits opposed the US. They never acknowledged that it was the US that destroyed the USSR on one hand and will never forgive the US for doing it. Schroeder capitalized on that sentiment in Germany and seeing that it worked Chirac did the same in France.

    Now seeing that Europe has inflicted a serious wound on itself, who knows, even a fatal wound at least as far as the European Union, a union in name only is concerned, I feel a sense of poetic justice in this. They are getting what they deserve. They made their bed, now they'll have to lie in it. Ode to Joy could become one of my favorite songs. Meanwhile the US seems to be recovering from its economic problems despite a 19 trillion dollar debt. China, Russia, Brazil, Australia, Canada, and a lot of others don't seem to be doing so well.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora