26 Oct 2015
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 26 OCTOBERBrussels Daily
Meeting on the Western Balkans Migration Route: Leaders agree on 17-point plan of action
Yesterday evening, at the invitation of President Juncker, the Heads of State or Government of Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia, agreed on a 17-point action plan to improve cooperation on border management and step up the provision of humanitarian support to asylum seekers along the Western Balkan Route. The action plan includes measures that will be operational as of today, including the establishment of contact points to ensure a permanent exchange of information, providing shelter to refugees, managing migration flows together, and increased efforts to manage borders. Leaders agreed to improve communication of information on the rights and obligations of refugees and migrants and to monitor their agreed commitments under the action plan on a weekly basis. President Juncker said:”Countries affected should not only talk about and at each other but also with each other. Neighbours should work together not against each other. Refugees need to be treated in a humane manner along the length of the Western Balkans route to avoid a humanitarian tragedy in Europe. I am therefore pleased that today we were able to jointly agree on a 17-point plan of pragmatic and operational measures to ensure people are not left to fend for themselves in the rain and cold“. A press release is available online. The joint press conference following the Leaders’ Meeting with President Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres is available on EbS. Tomorrow, President Juncker will address Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the conclusions of the European Council meeting on 15 October, as well as on yesterday’s Leaders’ Meeting on refugee flows along the Western Balkans route. The President will speak in the Parliament at 10:00 and you can follow it live on EbS. Furthermore, today, on 26 October Croatia activated the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism for material support to help cope with the large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in the country. The European Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is working closely with the Croatian authorities and the other participating states in the Mechanism to coordinate a swift response to the request. Croatia has requested material support such as winter tents, beds, blankets, mattresses and sanitary equipment.