EU′s Donald Tusk calls special migration summit for September 23 | News | DW | 17.09.2015
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EU's Donald Tusk calls special migration summit for September 23

European Council President Tusk has summoned EU leaders to a special summit next week to discuss the refugee crisis. The EU's interior ministers failed to agree on a quota system to distribute migrants across the bloc.

Earlier on Thursday, the European Parliament supported the failed motion seeking a quota system for housing migrants across the bloc.

The EU's extraordinary meeting will convene on September 23 at 6 p.m. local time (1600 GMT), Donald Tusk wrote in a tweet on Thursday.

Tusk also said that he would be visiting a refugee camp during his upcoming trip to Egypt and Jordan, and would share his findings with the European leaders.

Tusk's announcement comes at a time when Europe is facing its biggest migrant influx since the end of World War II. Thousands of people are fleeing a protracted civil war in Syria and heading to Europe via the Mediterranean.

Donald Tusk, at a Brussels press conference earlier this year

Tusk and the EU's 28 heads of state will sit down next Wednesday evening

The arrival of these refugees has sparked an unprecedented crisis in Europe, with many governments imposing strict border checks to impede and manage the overflow of migrants. Germany and other European countries have pledged to take thousands of asylum-seekers as a gesture of solidarity.

Croatia's warning

Croatia warned on Thursday that the massive influx of refugees would soon overwhelm it. According to Croatian police, the officials registered some 6,200 refugees on Thursday, who had crossed the Serbian border over the previous days. The authorities expect 20,000 more people to arrive at Croatian border over the next two weeks.

"We will be constructive and cooperative, but out capabilities … are limited," Croatia's Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said on Thursday after holding talks with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann in Zagreb. "There are limits to our capacity. After that, I don't know whether we can document all the people," he added.

On Monday, the European Union's interior ministers failed to agree on a mandatory quota for the member states to spread the burden of this year's migrant influx into Europe.

Sigmar Gabriel, in the German parliament, wearing a button saying we're helping issued by newspaper Bild

Social Democrat leader Gabriel has sought to take a strong stance on the issue, with help from newspaper 'Bild'

Former communist countries like Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania and Poland, which joined the EU a decade ago, are opposing the compulsory quota, arguing that the new arrivals would disrupt their societies.

'Who is helping Germany?'

Meanwhile, Germany's Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, also deputy chancellor, renewed his appeal to other European countries that they allow more refugees.

In a video message on Thursday, Gabriel said that Europe needed to move: "Germany is helping. The question is, who is helping Germany?"

He added that the response by some European countries was giving out an impression that "Europe is something people join in with when there's money and where they hide in the bushes when they have to take responsibility." Gabriel said that "money cannot keep on flowing in Europe as it has so far if Germany, Austria and Sweden organize and finance taking in refugees alone."

shs/msh (dpa, Reuters)

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