EU ministers openly clash over how to contain migrant flow

AMSTERDAM -- European Union nations openly quarreled Monday over how best to tackle the migrant crisis amid the stream of new arrivals and continuing disagreements over how to seal off borders.

See Full Article

Despite choppy seas and wintry conditions, more than 2,000 people are arriving daily, according to EU figures. With the vast majority pouring into Europe through Greece after making risky boat journeys from nearby Turkey, Athens is under pressure to do more to guard the country's borders.

"Their state structure is just too weak to do it themselves -- apparently," Belgian Migration State Secretary Theo Francken said on the sidelines of a meeting of EU justice, interior and migration ministers.

Greek Immigration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas conceded his country was struggling to cope with the flow, but shifted the blame to fellow EU member states for failing to provide enough manpower and boats to patrol Aegean Sea islands just a few kilometres from Turkey's coast and not honouring pledges to relocate migrants.

Mouzalas told reporters Athens wanted 1,800 officers from the EU border patrol force known as Frontex, but got only 800. Of the 28 coast guard ships requested by Greece, only six have arrived, he added.

Ministers arriving for the meeting at Amsterdam's Maritime Museum were met by protesters in two boats, one full of showroom dummies wearing red life vests similar to those worn by migrants crossing from Turkey and another with a large sign saying: "Leaders of Europe, it's not the polls you should worry about. It's the history books."

The meeting comes only days after European Council President Donald Tusk warned that Europe's passport-free travel area, known as Schengen, could break apart if the migrant strategy isn't sorted out within two months.

"To maintain and ensure the free movement within the Schengen zone, it is obvious that we have to better manage our external borders," EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said.

"Everybody travels on," Francken told VRT network. "So, the Greeks now need to bear the consequences, and we will go for a kind of sanction mechanism and eventually a suspension, under which internal border controls remain possible for two years."

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said that if Greece can't stem the flow, Europe may need to set up border controls somewhere else.

"It's clear that if we can't secure the European borders -- that means the Greek-Turkish border -- then the Schengen border will move to central Europe," she told reporters.

Mouzalas called the idea of sending Frontex officers to the Greek-Macedonia border to halt migrants there "illegal" and insisted more Frontex officers should be sent to his country.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • LIVE UPDATES: Testimony to resume at Christopher Garnier's murder trial

    Canada News CTV News
    A Nova Scotia prosecutor focused yesterday on differences between what a man accused of murdering an off-duty police officer told police, and what he's told the jury. The Crown alleges Christopher Garnier punched and strangled 36-year-old constable Catherine Campbell after they met at a Halifax bar. Source
  • Winds, dry conditions expected to hamper efforts to tame California wildfire

    World News CBC News
    Powerful gusts of wind and dry conditions remain overriding concerns for Californian firefighters on Wednesday as they seek to tame a huge blaze that has destroyed hundreds of homes. The so-called Thomas Fire has travelled 43 kilometres since it began on Dec. Source
  • Palestinian president says no role for U.S. in peace process after Trump's Jerusalem declaration

    World News CBC News
    The Palestinian president said Wednesday his people won't accept any role for the United States in the Middle East peace process "from now on," following U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Source
  • 'Nobody saved us': Man describes childhood in abusive 'cult'

    World News CTV News
    SPINDALE, N.C. -- Jamey Anderson vividly recalls being a skinny kid trembling on the floor of a dank, windowless storage room, waiting in terror for the next adult to open the door. He was bruised and exhausted after being held down while a group of Word of Faith Fellowship congregants -- including his mother and future stepfather -- beat him with a wooden paddle, he said. Source
  • Palestinian president says no role for U.S. in peace process

    World News CTV News
    ISTANBUL -- The Palestinian president said Wednesday his people will not accept any role for the United States in the Mideast peace process "from now on," following President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Source
  • Tillerson says U.S. open to talks with North Korea 'without preconditions'

    World News CBC News
    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has softened the U.S. stance on possible talks with North Korea, calling it "unrealistic" to expect the nuclear-armed country to come to the table ready to give up a weapons of mass destruction program that it invested so much in developing. Source
  • Analysis: Trump bets on Moore and suffers stinging defeat

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Rarely has a sitting president rallied behind such a scandal-plagued candidate the way Donald Trump did with Alabama's Roy Moore. And rarely has that bet failed so spectacularly. Moore's defeat Tuesday in Alabama -- as stalwart a Republican state as they come -- left Trump unapologetic and his political allies shell-shocked. Source
  • 'Trump is not a kingmaker' as Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore in Alabama

    World News CBC News
    Doug Jones made an appeal for "decency" to prevail over partisanship. Deeply conservative Alabama apparently listened, overturning a quarter-century of voting habits to elect him on Tuesday night in a stunning rebuff of the president, of an anti-establishment insurgency and of sexual harassment in Congress, Alabama politicos said. Source
  • EU says 'no turning back' for Brexit commitments

    World News CTV News
    BRUSSELS - European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Wednesday there will be "no turning back" for Britain on commitments made during an initial divorce deal between the two, after his U.K. counterpart insisted it was merely a "statement of intent. Source
  • Equalization not working for Newfoundland and Labrador, says finance minister

    Canada News CBC News
    Newfoundland and Labrador's finance minister says the province should get a better equalization deal from the federal government. "When you see other provinces with a smaller geography and a much larger population and are receiving a large portion of equalization payments, I challenge anybody to explain to me how Newfoundland and Labrador is still considered a 'have' province," Tom Osborne told CBC's Here and Now on Tuesday evening. Source