POPE URGES POLAND TO WELCOME ASYLUM-SEEKERS
In his first public statement since arriving in the Polish city of Krakow, Pope Francis has urged people to welcome refugees fleeing war and hunger. Being a noted liberal, the Pontiff is not expected to avoid the issue, which could become a significant cause of tension with the Polish government during his five-day visit. Pope Francis has made the call for generosity toward refugees a hallmark of his papacy, saying everything must be done “to alleviate suffering while tirelessly working for justice and peace.” However, Poland’s right-wing government has refused to accept refugees on security grounds.
GREEK OFFICIALS WORRIED ABOUT RENEWED REFUGEE FLOW
Greek authorities are worried of a new increase in arrivals that could result from the instability in Turkey after the attempted coup. The latest official data shows 9,140 refugees are on eastern Aegean islands, while 100 more arrived on Wednesday. This is compared to 8,475 on July 13, when arrivals began to pick up again at 40 to 120 people daily. The resulting overcrowding has two hotspots on Lesvos currently hosting 3,800 asylum-seekers – 300 more than the stated capacity. On Chios, the makeshift hotspot built for 1,100 is accommodating 2,509, while the Samos facility, with a capacity of 850 people, holds 1,356.
HUNGARY AND AUSTRIA COOPERATE ON STOPPING ASYLUM-SEEKERS
Hungary’s right-wing leader Viktor Orban has described the arrival of asylum-seekers in Europe as “a poison.” During a joint press conference in Budapest with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, Orban said, “Hungary does not need a single migrant.” Kern, on his first visit to Hungary since becoming Chancellor in May, showed how far right Austria has swung on the refugee issue, adding migration to Austria had declined thanks to Hungary’s tough measures. “If we are beneficiaries from this process, then we must assist it.” Austria is sending 20 officers to help Hungarian border guards stop asylum-seekers from entering the country.
GERMANY DEBATES NEED FOR DEDICATED INTEGRATION MINISTRY
Germany’s integration commissioner believes the constitution must be changed to include a ministry of integration. Aydan Özoguz said, “I think it’s a good idea if the Basic Law makes clear what kind of country Germany is, namely a country of immigration.” He added six German states already have an integration ministry. However, Angela Merkel’s governing Christian Democratic Union played down the demand in a statement, saying, “The suggestions imply wrongly that the federal government is doing too little for integration policy. The federal government has clearly acknowledged that integration is one of the core tasks of our decade.”