After failing to agree on a plan to distribute 160,000 refugees across the EU — just a fraction of the numbers arriving this year — the bloc has called a summit for Wednesday to work on a united response.
Donald Tusk, who chairs EU summits, called on Friday for a credible EU migration policy and said member states must stop shifting responsibility onto their neighbors.In a letter addressed to the 28 leaders ahead of the summit, Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, also urged them to provide donations to the World Food Program to help feed some 11 million refugees in Syria and the region.
Tempers are fraying among some migrants trekking across Europe.
In the Croatian town of Beli Manastir, just over the border from Hungary, angry groups of Afghan and Syrian migrants, waiting for trains to Zagreb, fought with rocks and sticks at a ticket office.
Rocks, smashed bottles and broken sticks littered the ground. A handful of police in ordinary uniforms tried to restore control.
Relations between EU states have also been damaged, with several suspending the Schengen rules to restore emergency border controls to slow the flow.
Despite criticism by rights groups and some EU officials, Hungary’s right-wing prime minister, Viktor Orban, said his country was extending the fence along its southern border with Serbia to the Croatian section.
Serbia warned its neighbors against shutting down the main arteries between them, saying it “will seek to protect our economic and every other interest before international courts”.
Germany, which is planning to host by far the largest number of refugees, says other EU countries must do their part.
Some other EU states, especially former Communist countries in the east, reject quotas to accept refugees. They accuse Berlin of exacerbating the problem and encouraging the overland surge by suspending EU rules to announce in August it would take in Syrian refugees wherever they enter the EU.
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel renewed a threat that countries that do not help in the migrant crisis will be deprived of EU funds.
Interior ministers will try to overcome the differences on Tuesday, a day before the summit of EU leaders.
“These occasions may be the last opportunity for a positive, united and coherent European response to this crisis. Time is running out,” Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the UN refugee agency, said in Geneva. – Agencies