Global Independent Analytics

EU is planning to build reception centers for 100,000 migrants

Europe is experiencing the worst migration crisis since World War Two.

According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 680,000 migrants and refugees have crossed to Europe by sea so far this year, fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. But the lack of a common policy is straining ties among European leaders, raising questions about the EU's future.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called leaders of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia, plus refugee organizations involved, to attend an emergency summit Sunday in Brussels. The meeting was the latest in a series of top-level EU meetings to find a unified approach on how to best deal with the thousands of migrants streaming into the EU every day. It was sought by Chancellor Merkel, who has voiced concern for migrants as winter sets in.

"Every day counts," Juncker said Sunday in an interview in German weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag. "Otherwise we will soon see families in cold rivers in the Balkans perish miserably."

"The challenge now is to slow down the flow of migration and to bring our external borders under control," Juncker told Bild. "We must also make it clear that people who arrive at our borders who are not looking for international protection have no right to enter the EU."

Some EU lawmakers have complained that all states should attend the meeting and that France's absence in particular could limit progress on a plan.

And the plan is to set up 100,000 places in reception centers in Greece and along the migrants' route through the Balkans.  Juncker said early Monday after an emergency summit that 50,000 places would be created in Greece and another 50,000 throughout the Balkans.

He also said the reception places would be vital in providing shelter, registering the migrants and helping better manage the flow of the migrants.

"This is one of the greatest litmus tests Europe has ever faced," Merkel said Monday about the continent's migrant crisis, which some see as a border security problem and others view as a humanitarian challenge.

Juncker issued a statement Monday with nearly 20 proposals, including a plan for the speedy exchange of information to coordinate efforts on processing the migrants through the various countries.

Still some countries express doubts and even criticism of the current situation and the action of EU. Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania said they would close their borders if Germany or other countries shut the door on refugees.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Sunday Serbia would not "put up any walls" but suggested his country will not agree to be the only migrant stop if countries farther west close their borders.

Rights group Amnesty International said the 28-country bloc could not afford to end another meeting without an agreed plan.

"As winter looms, the sight of thousands of refugees sleeping rough as they make their way through Europe represents a damning indictment of the European Union's failure to offer a coordinated response to the refugee crisis," said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty's director for Europe and Central Asia.

 

Original: http://www.voanews.com/content/eu-new-places-for-migrants-in-reception-centers/3022860.html

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