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Greece warns EU planning refugee curbs

25 February 2016 10:39


Greece warns any EU deal on the refugee crisis must incorporate mandatory distributions of the refugees as ministers of the bloc meet to tighten regulations.

“Greece will not agree to deals if a mandatory allocation of burdens and responsibilities among member countries is not secured,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told parliament in Athens.

His comments came as EU interior ministers gathered to hold a meeting in Brussels on Thursday to hear plans by Austria and eight Balkan countries to fingerprint all refugees.

Greece is grappling with a crisis from Macedonia’s decision to block entry to Afghans, which has left thousands of migrants stranded on its territory.

Austria and Balkan nations have also agreed measures to restrict numbers, while Hungary plans to hold a referendum on whether to accept mandatory quotas of migrants.

In Brussels, EU interior ministers will hear plans under which anyone who does not have a passport or holds fake documents would be turned away.

Back in September, EU ministers agreed to relocate 120,000 refugees from Italy, Greece and Hungary to other EU countries. But Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary expressed opposition to the majority vote decision.

There are concerns that the refugee crisis may lead to the collapse of the EU as a unitary bloc as its member states have not succeeded in adopting a common approach to the refugee issue so far.

Greece wants other EU member states to implement the existing agreements on taking in refugees without further delay.

Austria has already introduced a daily cap on asylum applications. Some Balkan countries have also tightened entry conditions.

On Wednesday, Tsipras accused EU partners of dumping the burden of the refugee crisis on Greece.

“We will not accept turning the country into a permanent warehouse of souls with Europe continuing to function as if nothing is happening,” he said.

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