Tags: EU | Europe | Migrants

EU Ministers Discuss Sharing Refugees among Nations

EU Ministers Discuss Sharing Refugees among Nations

Monday, 14 September 2015 05:42 AM EDT

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union interior ministers meet for emergency migration talks on Monday, a day after Germany reintroduced checks at its border with Austria to stem the continuing flow of refugees.

The ministers will try to narrow a yawning divide over how to share responsibility for thousands of migrants arriving daily and ease the burden on frontline states.

Their talks will focus on distributing 160,000 refugees over the next two years, and the German decision to have checks at a border that for 20 years has usually been open as part of the EU's landmark Schengen passport-free zone has added urgency.

The arrival of around 500,000 migrants so far this year has taken the EU by surprise and it has responded slowly.

Lacking a quick and comprehensive policy answer, countries have begun tightening border security or, in the case of Hungary, erecting fences. Greece is simply overwhelmed by the numbers and cannot properly screen migrants let alone lodge them.

Despite the pressure on Hungary, EU diplomats said Friday that the country does not want to take part in the new refugee-sharing mechanism, even though it would see 54,000 refugees sent elsewhere.

Germany's decision to reintroduce border checks temporarily is allowed under the Schengen rules governing free movement within the EU but the move has raised new questions about whether security can be ensured without tighter controls.

Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders said the temporary measure showed the need to make haste with a more comprehensive deal on the refugees.

"It means that we have make progress about the relocation today," he said.

One concrete decision at the meeting will see ministers confirm the distribution of an initial 40,000 refugees. But this plan was conceived in May and some nations still do not plan to do their full share before year's end.

Humanitarian groups are critical of the slow European response and they fear that this meeting could turn into yet another talking shop.

"Bear in mind that the decisions adopted in previous summits have so far largely failed to improve the situation," Doctors Without Borders President Joanne Liu said in a letter to EU leaders.

© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Europe
European Union interior ministers meet for emergency migration talks on Monday, a day after Germany reintroduced checks at its border with Austria to stem the continuing flow of refugees.The ministers will try to narrow a yawning divide over how to share responsibility for...
EU,Europe,Migrants
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2015-42-14
Monday, 14 September 2015 05:42 AM
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