The European Union executive is preparing for a new clash over refugees with national governments, especially in eastern Europe, after officials gave details on Monday of how many it would ask each of them to accommodate.

The European Commission will propose national quotas to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers arriving in Greece, Hungary and Italy, with Germany taking in more than 40,000 and France nearly 31,000. Countries that do not want to take part would be able to make financial contributions to buy their way out of the obligation on a temporary basis…

The redistribution program would be small compared to the 800,000 asylum seekers Germany itself plans to receive this year. And Germany would still take a quarter of those redistributed…

Slovakia has said it does not want to take in Muslims.

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Thousands more refugees were expected to arrive in Germany on Monday after 20,000 came in over the weekend, piling pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel whose open-door policy has made the country a magnet for people fleeing civil war in Syria.

Christoph Hillenbrand, a senior official in Bavaria, where migrants have been arriving by the train-load from Hungary via Austria, told reporters that 2,500 new asylum seekers were likely to arrive in Germany by early afternoon…

“It has now reached a volume that is already considerable,” Hillenbrand, president of the government of Upper Bavaria, told reporters at Munich central train station on Monday morning. “We will still do our best to create new places but we are pushing against the limits now.”…

“There is no society that could cope with something like this,” said CSU leader and Bavarian premier Horst Seehofer said. “The federal government needs a plan here.”

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Struggling to cope with a record influx of asylum seekers, Germany told its European partners on Monday they must take in more refugees too, saying the burden could not fall on just a few countries.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking after a weekend in which some 20,000 migrants made their way to Germany from Hungary by train, bus and on foot, described the events of the past days as “breathtaking” and tried to reassure German citizens that the crisis was manageable…

“What isn’t acceptable in my view is that some people are saying this has nothing to do with them,” Merkel said. “This won’t work in the long run. There will be consequences although we don’t want that.”

Gabriel said that if countries in eastern Europe and elsewhere continued to resist accepting their fair share of refugees, the bloc’s open border regime, known as Schengen, would be at risk.

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The head of the U.N.’s Geneva office says 4 million Syrian refugees will “get up and leave and come” toward Europe unless the world community gives money to three neighboring countries of Syria where they now live.

Michael Moeller says U.N. members need to offset costs paid by Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, and said the influx of Syrian refugees heading toward Europe was part of a larger, broader trend of mass migration worldwide.

In an interview Monday with The Associated Press, Moeller urged a change in “the narrative” in receiving countries: “Not every refugee is a terrorist, or a criminal, or a job-stealer or whatever.”

He also cautioned migrants and refugees against thinking that they’ll “end up — all of them — in Germany.” Germany has been among the most welcoming countries among EU states.

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The French president François Hollande announced on Monday that France will take in 24,000 refugees over the next two years, as requested by Brussels…

That’s the number the European Commission has asked France to accept under a new plan aimed at easing the refugee crisis…

“We will do it because that is the principles that France is built on,” he told the media.

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The UK will accept up to 20,000 refugees from Syria over the next five years, David Cameron has told MPs.

The prime minister said the UK had a “moral responsibility” to resettle refugees living in camps bordering Syria while also doing all it can to end the conflict in the country.

Vulnerable children and orphans would be prioritised in what would be a “national effort”, Mr Cameron said…

“We will continue to show the world that this country is a country of extra compassion, always standing up for our values and helping those in need,” Mr Cameron said.

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Pope Francis has called on every religious community across Europe to do their part to stem the refugee crisis and offer sanctuary to migrant families

“May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family,” he said…

“Before the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing death in conflict and hunger and are on a journey of hope, the gospel calls us to be close to the smallest and to those who have been abandoned,” he said.

For Catholics, offering shelter to a refugee family would be seen as a “concrete act of preparation” for the Jubilee Year of Mercy beginning in December, he added.

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Muslim migrants are converting to Christianity in their droves in the hope it will greatly improve their chances of winning asylum in Germany.

Hundreds of mostly Iranian and Afghan asylum seekers have changed faiths at the evangelical Trinity Church in a leafy Berlin neighbourhood alone.

Many claim true belief prompted the move, but the decision undoubtedly boosts their chances of being granted asylum by allowing them to claim they would face persecution if sent home…

Chancellor Angela Merkel today described the influx as ‘breathtaking’ and said it would change the make-up of country forever.

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Praise for Germany’s handling of the thousands of refugees pouring into the country is giving way to domestic and international criticism of Berlin’s open-arms policy

“A welcoming culture is an expression of naive and illusory thinking,” a spokesman for Alfa, a recently founded opposition party in Germany, said Sunday. “What we need, instead, is realism and a sense of proportion. We shouldn’t go beyond providing the basics for asylum seekers, like food and shelter, because it will attract more people.”…

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban last week blamed Germany’s immigration policies and generous welfare system for emboldening more migrants to come to Western Europe—an opinion shared by several Central and Eastern European governments. Europe’s migrant crisis was “a German problem,” he said…

If such views gain ground in Western Europe, where popular right-wing opposition parties are pressing governments to act tougher on immigration, it could undermine Berlin’s push for refugees to be distributed more equitably across the EU, leaving Germany alone to absorb what could be close to a million migrants this year, many of whom with no intention to leave.

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[I]n several countries, [the migrant crisis] is leading to some harsh public arguments between rival camps and rival readings of Christianity: broadly speaking, between right-wing politicians and progressive clerics. In Italy, for example, Catholic churches and welfare agencies have found a new passion as helpers of poor migrants and as lobbyists for their interests. Pope Francis set the tone two years ago when he made a trip to the island of Lampedusa, where migrants were arriving, and made an eloquent denunciation of the “globalisation of indifference”.  The church’s involvement with helping migrants predated that trip, and it has become even more visible this year. Today the pope urged every parish and religious community in Europe to accommodate a refugee family.

But not all Italian Catholics, or their would-be political representatives, approve. Over the past few weeks, there have been some cantakerous public exchanges between a senior prelate and a rising politician of the right. Matteo Salvini, leader of the Northern League party and advocate of a new brand of Italian nationalism, has been sparring with Nunzio Galantino, the secretary of the Italian bishops’ conference. In a barbed rebuttal of anti-immigrant stereotypes, Bishop Galantino said politicians who played on xenophobic feelings were themselves “street-pedlars” hawking worthless trinkets; Mr Salvini said that as an ordinary, fallible Catholic he was at least as entitled to speak out as any “communist bishop”, and that he knew many people inside the church who shared his feeling that Italians must put their own interests first.

In Germany, progressive church leaders have been among the leading critics of Pegida, an anti-Muslim movement which has organised street demonstrations to denounce what it calls Europe’s creeping Islamisation. Only a handful of clerics have taken a different view; for example, a certain Father Paul Spätling spoke at a Pegida rally, only to be silenced by his bishop on grounds that such xenophobia is “not compatible with the Christian message of love, kindness and inclusion.” Meanwhile quite a lot of German churches are offering asylum to migrants (including Muslims) by letting them live on church property where the police cannot enter and deport them. 

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New evidence has been uncovered by journalists covering the European refugee crisis indicating that some are hiding their nationalities and are claiming to be Syrian to increase their chances at asylum.

A reporter for the Associated Press found identity cards from an array of nations dumped along the Serbia-Hungary border. Those included Pakistani and Bangladeshi identity cards and an Iraqi driver’s license…

Serbian border police say that 90 percent of the 3,000 daily arrivals from Macedonia claim to be Syrian, but have no identifying documents…

Syrian Kamal Saleh told the AP in Serbia, “Everyone says they are Syrian, even those who are obviously not. … That is not good for us Syrians because of limited number of people who will get the asylum.”

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has clashed with Austria and Germany over the handling of Europe’s immigrant crisis, pledged to seal the country’s borders, threatening illegal entrants with expulsion or arrest

“I’m therefore asking those who want to cross into Europe through Hungary: don’t come,” Orban said. “Even though the situation won’t change overnight, we will gradually achieve results and the time will come when we can tell our Austrian and German friends that Hungary’s southern borders are hermetically sealed.”

The Hungarian premier, who built a razor-wire fence along the frontier with Serbia, is hardening his line as more than 160,000 people have entered the country illegally this year. Thousands remained stuck for days at railway stations in Budapest in past weeks as the European Union has struggled to find a common solution to the influx. Orban has asserted Hungary’s right to formulate its own policies on the matter.

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In an interview aired on Monday by Austrian broadcaster ORF, Orban reiterated his view that many migrants surging through his country from crisis zones in the Middle East, Africa and Asia were fleeing poverty, not real refugees in need of asylum

“We are protecting Europe according to European rules that say borders can be crossed only in certain areas in a controlled way and after registration,” he said in the ORF interview.

Asked if soldiers along the frontier would get orders to shoot, he said: “It is not necessary because there will be a fence that cannot be crossed. Whoever wants nevertheless to cross the fence must be arrested and prosecuted. No use of arms will be necessary.”

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Every one of the posturing notables simpering ‘refugees welcome’ should be asked if he or she will take a refugee family into his or her home for an indefinite period, and pay for their food, medical treatment and education.

If so, they mean it. If not, they are merely demanding that others pay and make room so that they can experience a self-righteous glow. No doubt the same people are also sentimental enthusiasts for the ‘living wage’, and ‘social housing’, when in fact open borders are steadily pushing wages down and housing costs up…

Can we stop this transformation of all we have and are? I doubt it. To do so would involve the grim-faced determination of Australia, making it plain in every way that our doors are open only to limited numbers of people, chosen by us, enduring the righteous scorn of the supposedly enlightened.

As we lack the survival instinct and the determination necessary, and as so many of our most influential people are set on committing a sentimental national suicide, I suspect we won’t.

To those who condemn reasonable calls for national self-defence as bigotry, hatred and intolerance (which they are not), I make only this request: just don’t pretend you’re doing a good and generous thing, when you’re really cowardly and weak.

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This may be the most surprising of President Obama’s foreign-policy legacies: not just that he presided over a humanitarian and cultural disaster of epochal proportions, but that he soothed the American people into feeling no responsibility for the tragedy

Obama — who ran for president on the promise of restoring the United States’ moral stature — has constantly reassured Americans that doing nothing is the smart and moral policy. He has argued, at times, that there was nothing the United States could do, belittling the Syrian opposition as “former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth.”…

[I]naction was sold not as a necessary evil but as a notable achievement: The United States at last was leading with the head, not the heart, and with modesty, not arrogance. “Realists” pointed out that the United States gets into trouble when it lets ideals or emotions rule — when it sends soldiers to feed the hungry in Somalia, for example, only to lose them, as told in “ Black Hawk Down,” and turn tail.

The realists were right that the United States has to consider interests as well as values, must pace itself and can’t save everyone. But a values-free argument ought at least to be able to show that the ends have justified the means, whereas the strategic results of Obama’s disengagement have been nearly as disastrous as the human consequences.

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