Migrant crisis threatens EU cohesion, say top officials

Migrant crisis threatens EU cohesion, say top officials

Donald Tusk. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has warned that the migrant crisis is the biggest challenge the EU has faced for a decade and threatens the cohesion of the bloc.

He told the European Parliament in Strasbourg that the crisis threatened to transform the EU and destroy arrangements such as visa-free travel with the Schengen Zone countries.

“This challenge has the potential to … cause tectonic changes in the European political landscape,” said Tusk, a former prime minister of Poland. “These are not changes for the better.”

These were “extraordinary times” that required “extraordinary measures, extraordinary sacrifices and extraordinary solidarity”, he said.

He was speaking after European leaders held an emergency summit in Brussels to discuss how to handle the influx of migrants from the Middle East, Afghanistan, Africa and elsewhere.

Among other measures, participants agreed to increase the number of migrant reception centres and deploy 400 police officers to Slovenia, whose government says it has been overwhelmed by the number of migrants arriving in recent weeks.

But European Parliament president Martin Schulz said he left the talks feeling “deeply worried”.

“Promises are being made and they’re not delivered upon,” he said.

“Governments of the right and of the left sometimes think national interests are more important than community solutions. What suffers are the refugees and the cohesion of the European Union.”

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