Sunday

21st Apr 2019

Tusk sets EU two-month deadline on migrant crisis

  • If EU migrant strategy fails, "we will face grave consequences such as the collapse of Schengen," said Tusk. (Photo: European Parliament)

The EU has "no more than two months to get things under control" in the migration crisis, EU Council president Donald Tusk warned Tuesday (19 January).

Addressing MEPs at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Tusk said that "the March European Council will be the last moment to see if our strategy works".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"If it doesn't we will face grave consequences such as the collapse of Schengen," he added.

Tusk's warning comes as the decisions taken to manage the flow of migrants and strengthen Schengen area border controls are still not implemented.

"There is a clear delivery deficit on many fronts, from hotspots and security screening in frontline countries to relocation and returns," the EU Council chief said, adding that "the action plan with Turkey, although promising, is still to bear fruit."

Shortfall

According to the latest figures published by the commission Tuesday, 322 asylum seekers out of a planned 160,000 have been relocated, and 836 people have been sent back since September.

Other figures show that member states have made available 201 experts out of the 374 requested by the European support asylum office (EASO) and 447 border guards out of the 775 requested by the Frontex border agency.

Member states also pledged €575.45 million for the different funds set up to support programmes for refugees and displaced people, leaving a €2.2 billion shortfall compared to what they agreed in the autumn.

Tusk called on member states to "implement our agreements in full", while EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who spoke after him in the parliament, said that the conjunction of crises "requires to break out of national selfishness and return to the pioneering spirit".

"When I hear there is no European response to the refugee crisis, it's at the same time false and true," Juncker said.

"If member states had implemented policy we have put forward we we would be in a better situation than we now are," he added, reminding critical member states that "Brussels is them too".

UK talks

Speaking about the other current main challenge for the EU, the negotiations over British membership, Tusk said that an agreement at the next EU summit in February "will not be easy but it is still possible".

"In the run-up to the February European Council, I will table a concrete proposal for a deal with the UK to all EU leaders", he said.

Tusk said there would be "no compromise on fundamental values like non-discrimination and free movement" but that he could do "everything in my power to find a satisfactory solution, also for the British side".

He also suggested that a deal would not guarantee that the UK would remain in the EU.

"As of today the result of the referendum is more unpredictable than ever before," he noted.

"Time is of the essence here," he said. British prime minister David Cameron, for his part, has said several times that "what matters is getting the substance right, not the speed of the deal".

EU failing to deliver on migration plans

Three out of 11 hotspots in place. Two hundred and seventy people out of 160,000 relocated: Last year's EU promises to limit and better manage migration flows yet to materialise.

Germany proposes EU petrol tax to pay for refugees

Germany's finance minister, Wolgang Schaeuble, has proposed an EU-wide petrol tax to cover the costs of the refugee crisis, while saying Europe is moving to slowly on tackling the issue.

Austria imposes asylum cap to 'shake up' Europe

Austria to place cap on number of asylum claims it will process. German president, same day, said it may be “morally and politically” necessary to limit numbers.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us