EU ministers discuss action plan over refugee crisis

European Union ministers met in Amsterdam to discuss solution options over refugee crisis and disagreements on border security

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

An activist with Amnesty International protest against the ongoing refugee crisis prior to an informal meeting of EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers at the Maritime Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands on Jan. 25, 2016

Justice and interior ministers from the European Union met in Amsterdam to discuss solution options over the refugee crisis on Monday as influx of refugees continue to make their way into Europe, leading to disagreements within the bloc’s border security.

The urgent meeting came days after EU President Donald Tusk expressed his concern over Europe's passport-free travel area, known as the Schengen area, could collapse if the refugee crisis is not clarified within the next two months.

"In order to maintain and ensure the free movement within the Schengen zone, it is obvious that we have to better manage our external borders," said the EU's Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

However, Austrian Interior Minister Mikl-Leitner warned that, “If that [Schengen area] fails, Europe may need to set up border controls somewhere else.”

According to EU figures, more than 2,000 refugees continue to arrive into Europe daily, despite strengthened security controls on border and harsh winter conditions.

Refugee Crisis in Europe

Europe is facing the highest number of refugees since World War Two.

The International Organisation for Migration announced last December that one million refugees fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa crossed into Europe in 2015, while nearly 3,700 people lost their lives in their attempt to flee.

Last November, the European Union and Turkey reached an agreement for a refugee action plan.

According to the plan, Turkey will tighten security checks on its border against refugee activities in exchange for visa-free travel and broading EU membership talks between the EU and Turkey.

Turkey already hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees with almost 2.5 million refugees and has spent around 8 billion euros ($8.73 billion) to provide for the refugees since 2011.


TRTWorld and agencies