Lithuanian president goes to EU Council meeting on refugee crisis

Dalia Grybauskaitė
DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

At a meeting on Tuesday, the European Union‘s (EU) interior ministers supported the plan of distributing 120,000 refugees among EU member-states, in addition to the 40,000 refugee sharing scheme agreed upon earlier. Nevertheless, Grybauskaitė said the problem would not be solved by only sharing the refugees inside the EU.

In her words, it is necessary to reinforce the protection of the EU’s external borders, increase the control of refugee flows and take active diplomatic measures to resolve conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Libya, the President’s Office said in a press release.

European leaders will discuss how to tighten external border controls, improve registration capacities and ensure effective return policies for illegal migrants. The European Commission‘s proposals on drawing up a list of safe countries to help differentiate war refugees from economic migrants have been also tabled.

The European Council will also focus on cooperation with the UN Refugee Agency and on providing humanitarian and financial aid to UN refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Among the other topics on the agenda is the setting up of a new 1.8 billion-euro Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The Fund has the aim to eliminate the causes of illegal migration and improve the social and economic situation in North Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Lake Chad region.

The European Union is faced with the biggest migration crisis since World War II. More than 500,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean Sea since the start of the year, in addition to nearly 3,000 who went missing or were killed on the way.

After the migrants flooded some of the EU countries and the EU decided on a scheme of sharing the refugee burden, Lithuania has agreed to resettle 1,105 refugees over two years.

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