The Syria trust fund, used to help Syrian refugees and overstretched host communities in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, will also be used to help the migrants who made it to Macedonia and Serbia, an EU official said on Monday (1 February).
Prague will host an extraordinary summit of the Visegrad group, three days ahead of the February EU summit, to discuss the migration crisis and a possible “plan B” in case of a widening divide with the older Schengen members.
Fearing that Western countries will close their borders, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia are only letting refugees whose registration papers say that they will apply for asylum in Austria and Germany pass through.
The Austrian government announced yesterday (20 January) that it would cap the number of people allowed to claim asylum this year, and that it would send excess refugees back, or deport them to the neighbouring countries through which they came.
Macedonian lawmakers voted yesterday (18 January) to dissolve parliament next month ahead of an early election in late April, in line with an EU-backed deal to end a political crisis but under threat of a boycott by the main opposition.
Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said he would submit his resignation today (15 January) under a European Union-brokered deal for an early parliamentary election to defuse months of political crisis.
More than 1,000 refugees arrived at Greece's biggest port of Piraeus near Athens yesterday (13 January) as the influx of refugees fleeing conflict zones for Europe continued unabated into the winter months.
EU leaders will meet tomorrow (17 December) for a 2-day summit with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and make further overtures to his country. However, at this stage it is impossible to say if Turkey’s commitment to halt the influx of refugees has made a difference.
Greece asked for European help yesterday (3 December) to secure its borders and care for crowds of migrants, defusing threats from EU allies to bar it from the passport-free Schengen zone if it failed to get a grip.
Greece hit back yesterday (2 December) at threats from some EU states to suspend it from the Schengen zone of open border travel because of its failure to prevent large numbers of refugees from entering Europe.
The United Nations yesterday (24 November) condemned new restrictions on refugees that have left around 1,000 migrants stuck at the main border crossing into Macedonia from Greece, denied entry due to their nationalities in violation of international law.
New border controls in the Western Balkans are leaving refugees stranded behind barbed wire as temperatures start to plunge, and aid agencies warned that the clampdown would lead to a rise in smuggling.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made an appeal to the European Parliament, and to member states, to find innovative ways of financing the migrant crisis, as the EU coffers are running dry.
Leaders of the countries of the so-called “Balkan route” clashed on Sunday (25 October) with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with some of them using the argument that the Union may fall apart because of the refugee exodus.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called a mini-EU summit for today (25 October) with the leaders of the so-called “Balkan route” of Eastern European member states, in order to ask them to handle the migrant exodus in a dignified way.
The Balkans struggled with a growing backlog of refugees yesterday (19 October) after Hungary sealed its southern border and Slovenia tried to impose a limit, leaving thousands stranded on cold, rain-drenched borders where tempers frayed.
Commission plans to put Turkey on a list of "safe countries", to which migrants can be quickly returned as they would not risk oppression, have run into opposition from several European nations, sources said on Thursday (8 October).
While Germany has surprised the world with its welcome of refugees, Greece, Macedonia, Hungary and Denmark are growing hostile towards them, despite the fact that asylum seekers show no interest in settling there.
At least 850,000 people are expected to cross the Mediterranean seeking refuge in Europe this year and next, the United Nations said on Tuesday (8 September), giving estimates that already look conservative.