Tusk warns refugees away from EU


On a visit to Athens, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara was seeing a significant decrease in the number of refugees arriving at its borders, due to its changing visa regime.

According to Greek officials, Macedonia has allowed some 2,000 people through its borders in the last two weeks. “It is all for nothing”, Mr Tusk said.
(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris). A train passes as a woman walks with her children on railway track in the northern Greek border station of Idomeni, Sunday, March 6, 2016.
In its report, the commission urged Turkey to “take decisive action against migrant smuggling” by stepping up police work, coast guard patrols and cooperation with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
Mr Tusk has been touring capitals in central and south-eastern Europe this week trying to ease tensions caused by the migration crisis.
“I want to appeal to all potential illegal economic migrants, wherever you are from: Do not come to Europe”, Tusk said.
European Union leaders will gather in Brussels next week for a summit on the migrant crisis.
The migrants have been halted by countries such as Macedonia, which has imposed tougher border controls and where violence has erupted in recent days as armed police officers confront those seeking to cross.
The press release did not elaborate on the possible change of EU’s policy towards migrants.
“We are calm now because we are hoping for a positive outcome on Monday, that they will help us pass”, Hussam said.
The EU aid will pay for basic necessities such as food, shelter, clean water and healthcare until the end of 2018, with €300m available this year. Summit meetings like these are also part of the package.
“We understand the consequences to Greece of closing the Balkan route, and Greece needs to get maximum help”.
More than a million people came to Europe from countries including Syria, Iraq, Eritrea and Afghanistan previous year and at least 133,000 have arrived on the continent so far in 2016.
Most migrants arrive in the Greek islands over the Aegean Sea from Turkey, but a majority then travel up through the Balkans to wealthy Germany. But he added Greece could not bear the burden by itself. Should that happen, Berlin would start taking refugees directly from Turkey for resettlement – an attempt to promote legal migration rather than continuing the chaotic influx of 2015.
Without elaborating further Tusk floated the idea of a major operation to ship migrants with no right to stay in the European Union back to Turkey smashing the people-smuggler rackets. That is the top agenda item of next Monday’s Brussels summit.
Others at the center in Sid said that they were turned back from the Croatian border because some data in the migrant documents issued on the Macedonian border with Greece did not match the data in their passports, such as misspelled or incomplete names or wrong birth dates. Croatia signaled Friday that it’s ready to deploy the army. The rate at which refugees are being allowed to cross had already been reduced to a trickle and about 13,000-14,000 people are stranded in an overflowing camp on the Greek side.
The emergency funding proposal, which still requires approval, was announced Wednesday by European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, who promised to “fast-track” the assistance.