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Sympathy Pushes EU Toward Solidarity On Refugee Crisis

European countries are taking a more generous approach to refugees, which could lead to more support for an EU-wide solution to the crisis.

By Mari Jo Valero | September 7, 2015

The welcome signs are up as the U.K., France and Germany promise to increase the number of refugees they will accept, in an effort to ease the refugee crisis striking Europe. 

The United Nations estimates more than 300,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to get to Europe in 2015, often fleeing countries stricken by violence and civil war. 

The leader of this solidarity movement is none other than Europe's biggest economy, Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged European leaders to help solve the refugee crisis with “fairness and solidarity.” 

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Germany has promised to spend $6.7 billion to manage the immigration crisis. Eight hundred thousand refugees are expected to arrive in Germany by the end of 2015. A tent city is now in Berlin to house around 700 refugees. 

France is pledging to take 24,000 asylum seekers. And, like Germany, it's pressing for a quota system that would distribute the refugees in Europe according to the population and relative wealth of each country. 

And U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has announced the U.K. will take in 20,000 Syrian refugees and set aside $150 million for humanitarian aid. But Cameron's only offering to resettle refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, rather than those already in Europe; he argues this ensures there will be no incentive for refugees to risk the passage to Europe.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban disagrees with the quota system. His chief of staff says this type of distribution wouldn't work because it would be hard to enforce in Europe’s border-free community. 

There's little agreement on a long-term plan, but for now, most EU countries are on board with housing more refugees. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.

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