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    Migrants wait on the rocks on the shoreline under the surveillance of policemen on September 30, 2015 at the French-Italian border in Ventimiglia

    Western Europe More Accepting Toward Refugees Due to Historic Experience

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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)
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    Countries which have experience with refugee populations are more accepting of people from the Middle East and North Africa seeking asylum, experts told Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – According to a survey carried out exclusively for Sputnik by the UK-based Populus research consultancy, people living in Western Europe are more accepting toward refugees, as opposed to their eastern neighbors. The poll revealed that 58 percent of German respondents were in favor of allowing refugees to enter their country.

    "Because of its past Germany has much more immune against racism, xenophobia… Our own history is the reason why there is a great wave of sympathy towards the immigrants that came to Germany this year. Majority of the Germans are very positive and [have] comprehensive attitude to the immigrants, understanding what it means to live in a country with war," Sidonie Keller, an assistant professor at the University of Siegen, said.

    Emmanuel Faye, a professor of philosophy at the University of Rouen, suggested that countries like France, who used to have colonies, were used to immigration.

    "As we had colonies, we have a tradition of having people from Africa, and we welcomed people who came from the northern Africa," Faye said.

    Richard Wolin, distinguished professor at the City University of New York, said that some European countries were new to large-scale people migration.

    "The population in these countries is incredibly homogeneous, and it is difficult for people from other countries to assimilate there. It is not that they are racist, but it is that they just do not know how to deal with migrants coming to their countries," Wolin said.

    Mattia Toaldo, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations focusing on migration issues, shared a similar view.

    "The East-west divide I think is due to the fact that countries in Eastern Europe are less prepared and used to have large numbers of migrants. Some countries like Poland are a place of emigration, not immigration," Toaldo told Sputnik.

    Europe is struggling to manage a major influx of migrants fleeing war-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Over 710,000 migrants arrived in the European Union within the first nine months of 2015, according to the EU border agency Frontex.

    In September, EU interior ministers approved a plan to redistribute some 160,000 refugees throughout the bloc under a quota system. Several Eastern European countries opposed the issue, and were criticized for what has been labeled their inhumane treatment of refugees.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)


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