Countries agree to increase accommodation capacity for refugees by 100,000

The countries hit by the influx of a large number of refugees travelling along the Western Balkan route have agreed to increase their capacity for the reception of migrants, with Greece taking in an additional 50,000 migrants and Western Balkan countries as many, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said after a meeting focusing on the Western Balkan migrant route on Sunday.

Greece promised to create, by the end of the year, the capacity to receive 30,000 people with the UN's assistance and later another 20,000. The other 50,000 places should be ensured in Western Balkan countries, but those countries were not specified.

The leaders of eight EU member-states and three non-members (Albania, Macedonia and Greece) agreed to implement 17 measures to stabilise and slow down the refugee flow. They adopted a joint, 17-point declaration which is significantly less strict than its draft that had been prepared by EC President Juncker, which had 16 points.

In most of the points, the phrase that says that the leaders pledge to do something has been deleted. The point that says that directing refugees in unacceptable has been changed to say that a policy of directing refugees without informing a neighbouring country about it is not acceptable.

The leaders attending the meeting said that within the next 24 hours they would appoint contact persons in their cabinets to facilitate the exchange of information on the size of the refugee wave passing through their country.

Under the agreement, migrants who do not meet asylum criteria are to be sent back. Slovenia will be given help in the form of 400 police officers who will help it control its border on the basis of bilateral assistance from other countries.

In the declaration the leaders call on the EC to inspect how the agreed measures are being implemented on a weekly basis.

Last update: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 12:33

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