I think the message from the President of the European Council Donald Tusk is clear – that what has been happening during the previous year is not going to happen in 2016.
Earlier Thursday, Tusk told officials in Athens that Europe had little chance of resolving the crisis without full respect of controls on the external borders of Europe’s passport-free Schengen area – signaling pressure on Athens to do more to separate economic migrants from those fleeing war in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
“I want to appeal to all potential illegal economic migrants, wherever you are from: Do not come to Europe”, Tusk said. “Do not risk your lives and your money, it is all for nothing”, Tush added. “It is all for nothing”.
IDOMENI, Greece (AP) – A regional governor called on the Greek government Saturday to declare a state of emergency for the area surrounding the Idomeni border crossing where thousands of migrants are stranded due to border restrictions along the route toward western Europe.
At a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday, Tusk said such a mechanism would “effectively break the business model of the smugglers”.
The European Union and Turkey will hold a summit on Monday to discuss the refugee crisis which has severely strained relations among EU countries.
The Commission warned that the estimated cost of fully imposing border controls inside the Schengen zone could cost the European Uninion 5 to 18 billion euros a year, with additional administrative and second-wave costs on top of that.
The UN has warned of a looming humanitarian crisis on the Greek-Mace-donia border, where aid agencies have reported a lack of food and tents and warned that the wintry weather is taking a toll on people’s health.
He said the army had built 10,000 additional places at temporary shelters since the border closures, with work underway on a further 15,000.
Janos Lazar, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, said Thursday that the Cabinet would also consider sending more police and soldiers and strengthening the fences built a year ago on Hungary’s southern borders with Serbia and Croatia, which have mostly diverted the migrant flow.
Athens returned 308 migrants to Turkey on Wednesday under a 2002 bilateral deal signed with Ankara.
Sebastian Kurz told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview that “those who manage to arrive in Greece should not be allowed to continue on their journey”.
Athens said Thursday it now had almost 32,000 migrants on its territory, after Austria and Balkan states began restricting entries, creating a bottleneck in Greece.
Meanwhile in the northern French port of Calais, a group of Iranian migrants sewed their mouths shut in protest at the demolition of the so-called Jungle migrant camp.
The camp is a magnet for people hoping to reach Britain and many have refused to leave for other accommodation, although there has been no repeat of the violent clashes that erupted on Monday. Following the meeting, a deal was agreed upon, under which Turkey promised to prevent refugees now in the country or arriving there from reaching Europe in return for financial assistance in 2016-2017 and renewed talks on its European Union accession.