Leaders of 10 countries to discuss EC plan for dealing with migrant crisis Sunday

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has drafted a 16-point plan to be discussed by the leaders of 10 countries intersected by the Balkan refugee route at a summit in Brussels on Sunday.

The purpose of the meeting is to step up cooperation between countries on that route, which runs from Greece to Germany, so as to put the refugee flow under control.

Sunday's meeting will bring together Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, Slovenian PM Miro Cerar, Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Parliament President Martin Schulz, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, and representatives of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the EU (Frontex) and the  European Asylum Support Office.

Croatian PM Milanovic on Saturday described Juncker's plan as superficial and unrealistic. He underlined that he would not take on any obligations for Croatia on Sunday and reiterated that Croatia would not become a hotspot.

The first point in the document that was drafted by the EC President and that was made available to Hina envisages that participants in the summit should pledge to appoint, within 24 hours, a contact person in their respective cabinets to facilitate the exchange of information and coordinate the management of the refugee wave.

Under the document, the said countries' leaders are expected to pledge to increase their countries' capacity so that refugees are provided with temporary shelter, food, water and medical assistance. If they cannot ensure that, they should request the launching of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The countries are also expected to exchange information on their capacity so as to ensure that it is used to the maximum.

The countries are also requested to provide the capacity for the registration of refugees and collection of of biometric information.

The draft document says that the countries' leaders are obliged to exchange information on the size of the refugee wave passing through their country and that EU agencies can provide technical assistance in that.

Migrants who do not meet asylum requirements should be returned with technical assistance from Frontex.

Juncker has also asked the countries that are to participate in the summit to pledge that they will not encourage the arrival of migrants at other countries' borders without those countries' consent.

He has also proposed deploying Frontex personnel in Slovenia on the border with Croatia as well as in Croatia, for the sake of detecting illegal border entries and as support in refugee registration and fingerprinting.

Juncker's draft document also envisages the deployment of 400 border guards and equipment after Slovenia activates the mechanism for rapid border intervention teams (Rabit).

Slovenia has already said that initially it will need 400 police officers and that in the long term it will need up to 2,000 police to help it control its border, but it does not want Frontex personnel on its border and has proposed that they be deployed on the Croatian-Serbian border and the Greek-Turkish border.

Under the draft document, the said countries' leaders are also expected to reaffirm the principle that every country can refuse to let in a national of a third country if they do not want to apply for international protection, but before it does so, it must make sure that it is not violating international rules that prevent the sending of victims back to their persecutors.

The document also envisages the launching of a Frontex operation on the Greek-Macedonian border and calls for stepping up efforts to combat people smuggling.

Under the document, the implementation of these measures should be checked on a weekly basis.

The prime ministers of Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania, Aleksandar Vucic, Boyko Borisov and Viktor Ponta met in Sofia on Saturday and adopted a joint position for the Brussels summit, which is that the three countries are determined not to become a buffer zone for refugees if Germany or any other country decides to close its border.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
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