100,000 migrants to be hosted at Balkans centers
European leaders agreed to cooperate to manage migrants crossing the Balkans but offered no quick fix
European leaders agreed to cooperate to manage migrants crossing the Balkans but offered no quick fix to a crisis that threatens to take more lives as winter sets in and to set Europe’s nations against one another.
Meeting in Brussels as another woman and two children died at sea off Turkey, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met leaders of nine countries on the route from the Aegean to Germany taken this year by half a million people, defying EU borders and unfurling razor wire.
After talks throughout Sunday evening that began with what officials described as a round of leaders “venting” at each other’s conduct, the 11 governments issued a pledge to work together, along with a 17-point action plan that includes United Nations-aided accommodation for 100,000 people, half of them in Greece.
“Unilateral action may trigger a chain reaction,” the joint statement read - reflecting what is already fact, as states have variously sealed off borders or moved and deposited busloads of undocumented migrants at their neighbors’ frontiers.
“Countries affected should therefore talk to each other. Neighbors should work together along the route,” the statement said.
Meeting host Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Union executive, said: “We have made very clear that the policy of simply waving people through must be stopped.”
Merkel, whose poll ratings are sinking as she has opened Germany’s borders to hundreds of thousands of Syrians, called for the meeting just 10 days after the last of several full EU summits devoted to the migration crisis. She said it was urgent to find a humane solution for tens of thousands of people stuck behind closing Balkan borders as autumn turns cold and wet.
“The pictures of the last few days are not in line with our values,” she told reporters after extracting agreement from her peers to provide shelter, food and care for people on the move, helped where needed by EU aid and cheap international loans.
“Europe must show it is a continent of values, a continent of solidarity,” she said. “This is a building block ... but we need to take many further steps.”
Turkey: no deal yet with EU on migrant ‘action plan’EU leaders approved an action plan with Turkey to help stem the flood of migrants in return for concessions from Brussels World News
UK Labour’s Corbyn indicates won’t campaign for EU exitThe head oppositon leader has long been critical of the EU and had been unclear on his position in the past World News
Amnesty urges ‘drastic change’ to EU refugee policyThe human rights group urged leaders to increase support for frontline EU member states and ensure access to EU territory Middle East
Austrian president first EU leader to visit Iran since 2004Austrian President Heinz Fischer was travelling to Iran, becoming the first European head of state to visit since 2004 Middle East
EU leaders urge stricter border checks in counter-terror driveEU governments want to prevent Europeans going to fight with ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq World News
EU leaders to restore rescue operations after migrant boat disasterPublic outrage over the deaths peaked this week after up to 900 migrants died last Sunday when their boat sank World News
Binding refugee quotas divide EU: sourcesThe final plan is supposed to be put before EU leaders at their June 25-26 summit Analysis
EU imposes sanctions on Houthi leaderAbdulmalik al-Houthi faces a travel ban, an asset freeze and an arms embargo Middle East
Europe scrambles to respond to Greek ‘No’ voteMost EU leaders refrained from repeating their pre-referendum warnings about the uncertain fate facing Greece World News