EU, Balkan nations agree on action plan for refugees

  • PTI, Berlin
  • Updated: Oct 27, 2015 01:24 IST
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, speaks during a media conference at the conclusion of an EU summit at EU headquarters in Brussels. (AP)

The EU has agreed on an action-plan to help Greece and Balkans nations to cope with the raging refugee crisis by setting up new reception centres for up to 100,000 migrants, who are escaping war and poverty in their countries.

The leaders of ten EU countries and three non-EU nations also agreed at an emergency meeting in Brussels last night to send 400 additional police officers to support Slovenia, which has been overwhelmed by the number of refugees crossing into the country from Croatia.

They also agreed to deploy EU’s border security agency Fontex’s staff along the border between Greece, Macedonia, Albania and Serbia.

The meeting was attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and leaders of other countries along the migrants route.

Reception centres for 50,000 persons will be opened in Greece, which has been experiencing a sharp increase in the number of migrants crossing into the country from Turkey.

Additional reception centres for 50,000 persons will come up in the Balkans countries, which became popular routes for the refugees heading to Germany and Scandinavia after Hungary sealed its border with Serbia and Croatia.

In a 17-point plan agreed at the meeting, the participants committed themselves to provide shelter for the refugees along the Balkans route, to register them and to name a contact person at the highest level for exchange of information, Juncker told a news conference.

There has been a broad agreement among the participants that the flow of refugees along the Balkans route must be properly managed, he said.

Juncker called upon the Balkans nations to end the practice of “waiving off” the refugees to another country.

Nearly 2,50,000 people have passed through the Balkans since mid-September.

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