Syrian refugee crisis

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Ally Daskalopoulos, Columnist

In recent attempts to encourage all European Union (EU) states to welcome in more refugees from the Middle East, European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, has implemented a new quota plan.

Juncker’s hope is to get as many EU member states to take in 160,000 refugees. By assigning quotas to these member countries, the EU will be aiding Greece, Italy and Hungary who have been opening their doors to massive amounts of refugees.

In order for this change to occur, the support of at least 25 EU member governments is necessary. Germany, France, Spain and Italy (four of the largest governments involved in the EU agreement) have already consented to these quotas and are on board. This is a huge step not only for the refugees seeking shelter, but for the face of the European Union, as well.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Juncker said, “Europe today is an island of hope for the people in the Middle East fleeing war and oppression. This is something to be proud of, not something to fear.”

Juncker’s words struck a chord with me and sparked my support in the newly proposed quota plan. If enough EU members do their part and open their doors to the refugees, will we see union again among all of the EU countries.

German chancellor Angela Merkel also supports Juncker’s new plan but believes more needs to be done to separate the responsibilities equally among EU countries.

I stumbled across something that helped me see the bigger picture – the European Union’s motto: “United in Diversity.” Those three simple words can symbolize so much, but currently stand for so little. How can EU countries possibly stand united in diversity if they do not welcome these refugees with open arms?

There is a term in Greek called filotimo, which means hospitality. This word came to mind while I was reading article after article on the horrors of this migration crisis. Coincidentally, the Greeks have been accepting masses of refugees all over their islands and have been one of the more prominent and welcoming countries during the chaos of the migration.

It seems to be one of the only things the Greeks are doing right these days, but the rest of the EU countries should follow what the Greeks are doing and embrace the policy of filotimo into their own standards and regulations.

More needs to be done for these helpless refugees and the EU needs to act on it fast. While implementing quotas into migration agreements is a step in the right direction, each EU country needs to be thinking about how they can do their part in aiding the thousands of migrants that are yet to come. Opening doors, implementing agreements and enforcing encouragement is the only way Europe has a chance to embrace diversity once again.