European Union (EU) leaders have agreed to offer aid of at least one billion euros (1.1 billion USD) to help deal with the EU refugee crisis.
“It would be unfair to put the entire burden on Italy or Greece or other countries. Therefore we all agreed to offer help in every possible way including cooperation on hotspots,” said the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk on Thursday at a press conference after a seven-hour emergency summit in Brussels, Belgium.
The bloc will provide the funds to the United Nation’s refugee agency and the World Food Program operating in the so-called “hotspot”, the authority said, adding that EU leaders also “agreed on increased help to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon” and other countries in the Middle East.
He said about four million people from Syria have fled to neighboring countries, which means “we should be talking about millions of potential refugees trying to reach Europe from Syria alone, not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea and other places.”
Tusk warned that the “greatest tide of refugees and migrants is yet to come”, adding, “We need to correct the policy of open doors and windows.”
The European Council President also emphasized the common responsibility of all EU states to control Europe’s external borders.
A plan to set up what will essentially be detention centers at the “hotspots” in the frontline states of Greece and Italy is also expected to be in place by the end of November, where new arrivals will be held and registered.
The move is intended to identify refugees and filter out the so-called “economic immigrants” who will be deported.
Four eastern European member states of the EU ,namely, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania were disgruntled at the extraordinary summit, opposing the mandatory relocation of 120,000 refugees across the bloc.
The relocation scheme imposes mandatory quotas on its members.
“The measures we have agreed today will not end the crisis,” Tusk noted, saying that EU leaders will come up with a more detailed proposal in an EU summit next month.
Meanwhile, thousands of refugees continue to arrive on the continent every day, risking their lives by taking boats from Turkey to Greece, in the hope of reaching wealthier EU states like Germany by traveling overland through the Balkans.
To stop the influx of refugees, Hungary has built a razor-wire fence along its Serbian border, with plans to build a second one on its border with Croatia.