EU hardens stance on border controls to confront crisis

European Commission considers sending 400 extra border guards to Slovenia

Slovenian prime minister Miro Cerar: He warned yesterday that the EU risked “falling apart” if a comprehensive solution was not found to the refugee crisis. Photograph: Thierry Charlier/AFP/Getty Images

Slovenian prime minister Miro Cerar: He warned yesterday that the EU risked “falling apart” if a comprehensive solution was not found to the refugee crisis. Photograph: Thierry Charlier/AFP/Getty Images

 

The EU was poised last night to send extra border guards and resources to help Balkan countries struggling with the migrant crisis.

Leaders of eight central and east European countries, as well as the prime ministers of Serbia and Macedonia, met for an emergency summit in Brussels yesterday.

Slovenia’s prime minister Miro Cerar warned yesterday that the EU risked “falling apart” if a comprehensive solution was not found to a crisis which has seen more than 700,000 people flee to Europe this year.

Slovenia has found itself at the epicentre of the crisis in recent weeks after Hungary closed its border with Serbia, forcing thousands of refugees to re-route over the Croatian-Slovenian border. Up to 60,000 people are estimated to have arrived in the country of two million people within the last week alone.

Maritime resources

European Commission

But as part of the solution, the commission is pushing frontline member states to ensure that those not entitled to asylum are refused entry, rather than wave through migrants to other member states such as Germany and Austria.

Last night’s meeting was the latest indication of a shift in policy at EU level towards the migration crisis, as leaders focus on border control and deportation as a way of managing the unprecedented flow of refugees entering the European Union.

Tougher attitude

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“We must also make it clear that people who arrive at our borders who are not looking for international protection have no right to enter the EU.”

Yesterday’s summit, which was called at the behest of German chancellor Angela Merkel, is largely seen as an attempt by the EU to exert some control on the refugee crisis before the onset of winter.

There is also growing disquiet about developments in Syria, where Russia’s intervention has already succeeded in turning the direction of the civil war in favour of the Assad regime. There are increasing fears that, should Aleppo fall, a new wave of as many as 300,000 Syrian refugees could flee for Europe.