EU "not in as good state as it should be"

European Commission and European Council presidents have warned that the migrant crisis threatens to undermine the foundations of the EU.

Source: Tanjug

Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk addressed the European Parliament on Tuesday and called on EU member states to act in unity and solidarity.

"This is perhaps the biggest challenge in decades, which has the potential to create tectonic changes in the European political landscape," said Tusk, speaking to MEPs at the plenary session in Strasbourg.

Tusk warned that the lack of unity and solidarity among the member states is threatening the Schengen Agreement and that non-members, such as Turkey, cannot be expected to defend EU's external borders of the EU, but that the organization must do that itself.

He noted there should be awareness that the measures agreed during the Brussels mini-summit on Sunday, such as obligatory registration of refugees along the Western Balkans route, "will not stop migrants - but it is expected that their influx will slow down."

Juncker in his address pointed out that the EU "is not in as good state as it should be."

According to him if this was not true, the EU would not have needed to convene the extraordinary meeting with Western Balkans countries on Sunday, but would have solved the problem "through regular channels."

Juncker also remarked that recently refugees were seen on television "wading through freezing water" and that "soon snow and ice will be in their path."

"This crisis affects not only the Western Balkans, but also European institutions, so instead of great political speeches we have to roll up our sleeves and get to work," he said.

Juncker praised the results of the summit, noting it was held in a constructive atmosphere, and that countries of the Western Balkans for the first time sat together to discuss the migrant crisis.

He, however, sent a series of strongly critical messages to the EU member states, which is said are "dragging their feet instead of running."

"It is inconceivable that some members won't even inform neighboring countries about the migrants moving toward the border. It has to stop," he said.

In addition, some members make promised payments for providing care for refugees "slowly or not at all," and are not sending professional staff to agencies that should secure borders.

"We need an additional 775 people for the European border agency Frontex, and we have less than half," said Juncker, warning that such conduct may result in the EU "losing all credibility."

Speaking about Turkey, Juncker pointed out it was necessary to establish closer cooperation with that country so that migrants would not longer move toward the EU from there.

"I know that many are concerned about the state of human rights and press freedom in Turkey, but where would it take us if were were to now start a discussion about that," he said.


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