Balkan leaders talk on refugees ahead of EU mini-summit

With most refugees wanting to head to Germany ahead of the approcaching winter, the Balkan leaders are holding talks today on a coordinated response.

Balkan leaders talk on refugees ahead of EU mini-summit

World Bulletin / News Desk

The prime ministers of Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania were to hold talks Saturday on how to tackle record numbers of refugees at the onset of winter, ahead of a mini-EU summit to discuss a coordinated response.

Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania are among the countries on the refugees' route from Turkey up through the Balkans to northern Europe.

Saturday's talks in Bulgaria's capital Sofia come a day ahead of a meeting of leaders in Brussels called by European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, who has been urging a cross-border approach to the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

Hostility towards refugees streaming into Europe is mounting, with Germany on Thursday foiling an extremist plot to torch refugee shelters and Swedish police saying a sword attack on a school with many imrefugee pupils was motivated by racism.

Most of the refugees -- a flow of more than 670,000 coming into Europe this year, mainly fleeing violence in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan -- want to get to Germany, the EU's economic powerhouse.

Juncker on Friday said he backed German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy towards refugees, even though the welcoming stance has has threatened to cause a backlash, with the country bracing for up to a million asylum requests this year.

Juncker heaped praise on her on Friday, saying "I appreciate very much that the chancellor does not change course because of opinion polls".

"It is not a question of short-term popularity but the very substance of what politics is about," Juncker, who is hosting Sunday's talks, was quoted as telling the Funke-Mediengruppe press group.

But in a sign of possible friction ahead, the small Alpine country of Slovenia -- a new hotspot in the crisis -- warned it may build Europe's latest border fence to stem the tide of refugees unless it gets more help from the summit.

 

Last Mod: 24 Ekim 2015, 10:48
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