Monday, October 26, 2015
EU pushes to end migrant chaos with Balkans 'Borders' plan.
EU pushes to end migrant chaos with Balkans 'Borders' plan. (HD).
The EU pledged on Oct. 26 to help set up 100,000 places in reception centres along the migrant route through the Balkans, in a bid to defuse rising tensions on its eastern frontier over how to deal with the crisis.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made the announcement after emergency talks with the heads of 10 EU nations, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, plus the leaders of non-EU Albania, Serbia and Macedonia.
"Managing migration flows together is the only way to restore order, to slow down the uncontrolled flow of people. The uncontrolled flow of people must be stopped," Juncker told a press conference in Brussels.
The meeting comes after Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia on Oct. 24 warned they could close their borders to stop them becoming a "buffer zone" for the tens of thousands of people streaming into Europe every day.
"This is one of the greatest litmus tests Europe has ever faced," Merkel told the press conference with Juncker.
Some 3,000 have died making the dangerous Mediterranean sea crossing and, with winter fast approaching, the fear is that more could face the same fate on the land route through the Balkans.
The reception places, to be provided with the help of the United Nations' refugee agency, the UNHCR, will help provide shelter and speed up registration of migrants, Juncker said.
Some 50,000 places will be created across Balkans countries such as Macedonia and Serbia, while the other half will be located in Greece. That includes 30,000 to be made available this year, and another 20,000 will be set up with families or in rental housing subsidised by the UNHCR.
By trying to separate genuine refugees from economic migrants, the centres would also help speed the planned relocation of 160,000 asylum seekers from overstretched Greece and Italy throughout the 28-nation EU.
Juncker issued a statement with 17 proposals, including an undertaking that no country will let migrants through to an adjoining state without first getting their neighbour's agreement.
Turkey, the starting point for most of the migrants, was absent from the meeting but was on leaders' minds, with officials viewing its help as crucial in stemming the influx to Europe.
Ankara has demanded three billion euros ($3.3 billion) a year and visa-free travel for Turks in return for its cooperation.
The 10 leaders from the EU who attended the mini summit were from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, The Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden. The meeting took place amid a clear split in the EU over how to best handle the crisis. Hmmm.....It won't work with Erdogan using these refugees as a wedge to get in to the EU. Read the full story here.
Related: 807 000 migrants entered EU in first nine months of 2015, U.S. research shows Immigrants cut Native employment.