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10/26/15

EU Migration Control Agreement: Juncker’s migration summit leads to 17-point plan - by Dan Alexe

After an exhausting leaders’ meeting on Sunday, just after midnight, Jean-Claude Juncker announced that the leaders agreed in Brussels on a 17-point plan of operational measures.

These start with a permanent exchange of information, including submitting joint needs assessments for EU support within 24 hours, going to increasing Greece’s reception capacity to 30,000 places by the end of the year, and to support UNHCR to provide rent subsidies and host family programmes for at least 20,000 more – a pre-condition to make the emergency relocation scheme work; Financial support for Greece and UNHCR is expected.

Attending the leaders’ meeting were the Heads of State or Government of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.

The approved plan asks that Balkan and eastern European countries should stop allowing asylum seekers to pass through to other neighbouring countries without first securing agreement from those neighbours.

Countries should thus be asked to stop waving through migrants without the agreement of their neighbours. The question is how this could be done ensured on the ground, beyond the political declarations of good will and solidarity.

Some participants were very pessimistic. The EU will “start falling apart” if it fails to take concrete action to tackle the refugee crisis within the next few weeks, the Slovenian prime minister, Miro Cerar, warned. Slovenia, a country of 2 million people, has seen the arrival of more than 60,000 refugees in recent days.

At the press conference following the meeting, Jean-Claude Juncker and Angela Merkel did not give details how the transition, the flow of people, will be managed, and how will migrants be spread and divided among the EU member states “with dignity” and in a “humane manner”
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The final statement also reconfirmed the principle “that a country may refuse entry to third-country nationals who, when presenting themselves at border crossing points, do not confirm a wish to apply for international protection” — meaning that those who do not declare the intention to apply for the status of a refugee could be refused entry immediately at the border.

The EU has already dedicated four summits to migration since the summer but many member states are lagging behind on their promises.

Only around 80 asylum seekers from Italy out of a target total of 160,000 have so far been relocated. Greece has yet to dispatch any.

The President of the European Council, the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees also took part.

Read more: Juncker’s migration summit leads to 17-point plan

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