Migrant crisis: EU calls emergency talks

Migrant crisis: EU calls emergency talks

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The European Union has called emergency talks on tackling the bloc’s escalating migration crisis.
The EU presidency said interior ministers from all 28 member states would hold an extraordinary meeting on 14 September, and the crisis had reached “unprecedented proportions”.
It follows a week that saw hundreds more people drown in the Mediterranean and 71 die in a lorry in Austria.
A record number of 107,500 migrants reached the EU’s borders last month.
Media caption The rules governing immigration to the EU – explained in 90 seconds
The UN says the continuing conflict in Syria is a major factor behind the rise in numbers.Greece, Italy and Hungary have particularly struggled with the stem of migrants from not only Syria but the rest of the Middle East and Africa.
Next month’s extraordinary meeting was announced by late on Sunday by Luxembourg, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency.
“The situation of migration phenomena outside and inside the European Union has recently taken unprecedented proportions,” it said in a statement.
In July, the number of migrants that reached the EU’s borders topped 100,000 for the first time – triple the number of people in July last year, according to European agency Frontex.
Discussion points will include internal co-operation, fighting the trafficking of migrants, and return policy.
Germany, France and the UK have said the EU should establish a list of “safe countries of origin” that would allow immediate repatriation of some migrants.
On Saturday Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said much more was required to prevent the deaths of people fleeing to Europe and called for a “collective political response”.
He said he was “horrified and heartbroken” by the discovery of 71 dead people – believed to have fled the Syrian conflict – in a lorry in Austria on Thursday.
At least 2,500 migrants have died since January, most of them drowning in the Mediterranean.
Germany expects the number of asylum seekers it receives to quadruple to about 800,000 in 2015.
Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin on Sunday: “If Europe has solidarity and we have also shown solidarity towards others, then we need to show solidarity now.”
Some governments have refused to take in refugees and resisted EU proposals to agree on a common plan.
Others are tightening their policies on asylum and border security, sometimes because of rising anti-immigration sentiment.
Also on Sunday, UK Home Secretary Theresa May blamed the European borderless Schengen system of which Britain is not part for “exacerbating tragedies”. She has demanded tighter EU rules on free movement.
Some European governments are considering amending the Schengen code, but the European Commission, the EU executive, argues that this not needed to improve security or control migration.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, whose country has come under great pressure as an entry point to Europe, said the EU would forge “a single European policy on asylum, not as many policies as there are countries”. – BBC Report

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