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EU – Balkans Mini-Summit over Refugees

The Levant News — As Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia on Saturday threatened to close their borders to tens of thousands of arrivals streaming into Europe, the European Union and Balkan leaders hold emergency talks on Europe’s refugee crisis on Sunday.

President Jean-Claude Juncker called for the mini-summit which will gather heads of eight hard-hit EU nations including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, plus the leaders of Serbia and Macedonia.

Over past months, non-EU member Serbia has been swamped by migrants on their way from Greece and Macedonia to northern Europe, though Bulgaria and Romania have been much less affected.

Juncker’s office said Sunday’s mini-summit was needed to foster greater cooperation “in view of the unfolding emergency”.

In an interview published on Sunday by the German newspaper Bild, Juncker urged countries to stop handing on migrants to neighboring states in chaotic conditions.

“The European Commission expects everyone to obey the rules of the game if we don’t want to put Schengen at risk,” Juncker said, referring to the EU’s border-free zone.

The EU is facing record arrivals with more than 47,500 people in the last week entering Slovenia, which has a population of just two million, and 48,000 entering Greece, which has a population of 11 million, according to official figures.

With winter looming, Amnesty International on Saturday warned of a humanitarian disaster if migrants are stranded at borders.

An unprecedented 670,000 people mainly fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have flooded into Europe so far this year, in the biggest movement of its kind since World War II.

Sources AFP

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