“It is all for nothing”.
A migrant sits next to the riot police as other migrants block the railway track at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the village of Idomeni, Greece March 3, 2016.
He said central European countries with serious demographic problems and low unemployment could benefit in the long term by taking in millions of refugees, but austerity policies have fed a far-right “monster” opposing the inflows.
In a letter inviting European Union leaders to a summit he will chair on Monday with the Turkish prime minister, Tusk wrote: “Let me conclude on a prudent positive note”.
Macedonia’s foreign minister is calling on neighboring Greece to move thousands of migrants stuck on its side of the border away to more suitable reception centers. While almost 2,000 people arrive on Greek islands every day, Greece’s northern neighbor Macedonia only allows a few hundred through, on a good day, and only Syrian and Iraqi nationals.
On Tuesday, the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, said that 131,724 people made the journey across the Mediterranean during January and February, with 122,637 refugees landing in Greece.
“While [these]… are according to the rules, we can not forget the objective: that they are indeed exceptional and temporary, and that we should return to a border-free internal Schengen zone as soon as possible”, EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said.
Brussels called for the creation of an European Union coastguard force by the summer, help for Greece to strengthen its external border, and to ensure the cooperation of Turkey in stemming the flow of migrants. “The numbers of migrants entering Macedonia is determined by the numbers of those that can be accepted in Western European nations”, Poposki said in his interview with CNN.
In a taste of the rows to come on Monday, Alexis Tsipras, the Greek leader, insisted that migrants could not be “imprisoned” in his country and accused his counterparts of an “unfriendly act” by sealing the Balkans route. Authorities are hastily building a network of camps around the country, hoping to spread the trapped migrants and avoid major unrest.
French President Francois Hollande is also hosting the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris on Friday to discuss the migration crisis. Turkey signalled that it is willing to lend more help after it offered on Wednesday to sign a readmission agreement with 14 countries, meaning it could take back people who were rejected asylum in Europe.
Emmanuel Macron, France’s economy minister, told the Financial Times that thousands of migrants at the camp in Calais – known as “the Jungle” – could relocate to Britain and that bankers could head from London to France in the case of a so-called “Brexit”- Britain’s exit from the EU. The first payout of 95 million euros was announced Friday.