EC President Juncker calls special summit on Western Balkans migrant emergency

European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker has called a special meeting of heads of state and government on October 25 to discuss the unfolding emergency in the countries along the Western Balkans migratory route, the EC said on October 21.

In view of the unfolding emergency, “there is a need for much greater co-operation, more extensive consultation and immediate operational action,” the EC said.

The objective of the October 25 meeting will be to agree common operational conclusions which could be immediately implemented.

The EC said that the meeting would be attended by the heads of state or government of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.

European Council President Donald Tusk, the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have also been invited to attend the meeting. The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) will also be represented.

Austrian authorities say around 4500 refugees overran their border with Slovenia at Spielfeld on Tuesday afternoon, euronews reported.

It took the border guards completely by surprise. Until then they had been letting groups of one of two hundred people through at a time, but it seems that after days of being herded about in the rain and cold, the refugees patience snapped.

On October 21, Deutsche Welle reported that Slovenia’s parliament had approved a new law on Wednesday morning allowing the army more power to assist border police. The small eastern European nation has become the latest bottleneck in the refugee crisis as its neighbors begin to shut their borders.

The legislation, crafted by an all-night government meeting on Tuesday , allows the army to patrol the frontier even when border police are not present. The army has already been deployed at the border since Monday, but so far only when directly assisting squads of police officers.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s Border Police said that they had stopped 13 groups of migrants entering the country illegally, a total of 265 people.

The groups were intercepted, variously, at the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint, also near the Lesovo border checkpoint, and in two cases, the migrants attempted to enter Bulgaria across the border with Greece.



The Sofia Globe staff

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