The latest from the migrant crisis in Croatia.
Leaders of the European Union members will gather on Sunday afternoon in Brussels for a summit with Turkey, where the main topic of discussions will be the co-operation in stopping the influx of migrants to Europe. The importance of this meeting for the EU is demonstrated by the fact that the EU will be represented by heads of governments of member states, including Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, which is not common for EU summits with third countries, where the Union is usually represented by the presidents of the European Council and the Commission. Turkey will be represented by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, reports Index.hr and Vecernji List on November 28, 2015.
EU leaders will try to make Turkey agree to closer cooperation to help slow down the influx of Syrian refugees who are mostly coming from Turkey through the Greek islands and continuing to the north of Europe. Last month, EU and Turkey have reached an agreement in principle about a joint action plan for dealing with the refugee crisis, and now that agreement needs to be made more detailed. The plan includes financial aid to Turkey, which would in turn help stop the migrant wave.
Turkey, which according to official figures has accommodated 2.2 million Syrians, expects increased financial assistance from the EU and visa regime liberalization. The action plan foresees three billion euros in aid to Turkey, of which 500 million euros would be paid from the EU budget, with the rest covered by the member states. The largest share would be paid by Germany, 534 million euros, while Croatia should paid about 7.4 million euros. However, most states have still not offered their contributions, so it is not clear whether the amount will be collected.
That money would be used to improve the living conditions of refugees, of whom only 300,000 live in refugee camps, while the other 1.9 million are dispersed in major Turkish cities. The money would not be paid directly to Turkey, but would be used for funding of the projects such as education of refugee children and health care, then for the repatriation of illegal migrants and the development of the coast guard.
The trend of reduced inflow of migrants to Croatia has continued. From midnight to 9 am on Saturday, 1,015 refugees entered Croatia. There were just 17 people in the refugee reception centre in Slavonski Brod. Since the beginning of the migration crisis, 449,858 migrants and refugees have passed through Croatia.
However, close to 4,000 migrants landed yesterday morning at Piraeus, and most of them started moving towards the Greek-Macedonian border on their way to Europe. Regardless of the partial closure of the borders for some migrants, they do not intend to change their plans. About a thousand people, mostly Iranians, Somalis, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshi, spent Friday blocked at the border, a day after some 200 of them tried to get through to Macedonia. They tore down the barbed wire fence and threw stones and rubbish at the Macedonian police.