Key points of EU, Balkan plan for managing migrants

(From left) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and High Commissioner for Refugees, Portuguese, Antonio Guterres give a final press briefing at the European Commission.
(From left) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and High Commissioner for Refugees, Portuguese, Antonio Guterres give a final press briefing at the European Commission.PHOTO: EPA

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - European Union and Balkan leaders meeting in Brussels have agreed on a plan to cooperate on managing flows of migrants through the Balkan peninsula, the European Commission said on Monday (Oct 26).

Here are the main points of what has been agreed:

1. To increase reception capacity to 30,000 places by the end of the year in Greece. The UN refugee agency will provide rent subsidies and host family programmes for at least 20,000 more people.

2. To seek additional capacity of 50,000, reaching a total of 100,000 along the western Balkans route and Greece.

3. To deploy 400 police officers within a week to Slovenia.

4. To step up efforts to facilitate the return of migrants not in need of international protection and step up cooperation on repatriation with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Pakistan.

5. To scale up the Poseidon Sea Joint Operation in Greece, in particular the EU border agency Frontex's presence in the Aegean Sea, and strengthen significantly Frontex support to Greece in registering and fingerprinting activities.

6. To refrain from facilitating the movement of migrants to the border of another country. It is not acceptable to wave through refugees to another country.

7. To set up contact points to allow daily exchanges of information regarding migrant movements.

8. To exchange information on the size of movement and flows of refugees. Frontex and the EU's asylum office ESAO will put this exchange of information in place.

9. To contact financial institutions including the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to secure finances for the accommodation of refugees.

10. To step up police and judicial cooperation actions against migrant smuggling, engaging Europol and Interpol in Western Balkan route operations.

11. To reinforce support of the bloc's border agency Frontex at the border between Bulgaria and Turkey. To set up a new Frontex operation at the external land borders between Greece and Macedonia, and Greece and Albania to focus on exit checks and registration of refugees who were not registered in Greece.

12. Working together with Frontex to detect irregular border crossing and support registration and fingerprinting in Croatia.