European leaders plan to secure borders
Leaders of the European Union held a summit on Wednesday to develop a plan to secure its external borders, ensure asylum policies are carried out in all member states and restore free movement in the Schengen zone.
“We must prepare a concrete plan, which must finally appear in place of the arguments and the chaos we have witnessed in the last weeks,” European Union President Donald Tusk said before the summit.
The union voted on Tuesday to distribute 120,000 asylum seekers who are currently in Greece, Hungary and Italy among member states based on the size and wealth of each country. Germany would take the most refugees, just more than 30,000, and Malta would take the the least, 133.
The Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary opposed the plan. Together, the first three states would be expected to accept more than 9,000 refugees.
Hungary’s government does not think the plan will work because most refugees want to go to specific countries, mainly Germany. While the leaders were meeting, about 5,000 people were approaching the Austrian border with Hungary.
The Hungarian government made headlines last Tuesday when it announced it had closed the country’s borders.
Thousands of people, most of whom are fleeing Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, had been arriving at the Hungarian border the days before, hoping to board trains to other countries. About 1,200 made it onto a train the evening before heading to Austria.
Those who arrived after the closure were trapped in Serbia with a large razor-wire fence between them and the European Union.
Germany introduced emergency border checks days before Hungary closed its borders to slow down the influx of people. A least 450,000 people have arrived in Germany already this year.