Although most Syrian refugees have applied for refuge in neighboring countries, five European Union countries have also seen an increase. These countries are Germany, the UK, Sweden, Austria and Belgium. Compared to the refugee numbers in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, Syrian refugee numbers in the EU have been and remain small. However, the EU has shown some reluctance in accepting refugees and has sent increased protection to the border of Greece and Turkey, through which an estimated 80 percent of Syrian refugees were coming. In an effort to help with the crisis, Germany has recently taken a step to welcome 5,000 more Syrian refugees after a request by the United Nations.
The decision is not a popular one among all Germans, with Pro-Deutschland party activists protesting against the acceptance of more refugees. The segregation of Syrian refugees to a “rough” and “neo-Nazi” part of Berlin has drawn this rejection of refugees into starker contrast and shows the volatility that still exists surrounding refugee policy in Germany. However the UN hopes that Germany will set a good example for other European countries who have been more likely to reject Syrian refugees, like Greece. In 2012, Greece denied 150 asylum applications and accepted only 2.
National Public Radio has done a report on the German situation which interviews people to depict attitudes towards Syrian refugees from both right wing political forces and supporters of refugees. This is available here.
Other relevant articles include:
- For Some Syrian Refugees, A New Home in Germany (National Public Radio)
- Anger mounts in Berlin district over asylum home (Deustche Welle)
- Healing a neighborhood: Potential EU responses to the Syrian refugee crisis (Migration Policy Centre)