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Tusk calls for EU to take at least 100,000 refugees

By AFP   |   03 September 2015   |   10:02 am  

migrantEuropean Union leader Donald Tusk urged member states on Thursday to take in at least 100,000 refugees to ease the pressure on frontline countries from a growing migrant crisis.

“Accepting more refugees is an important gesture of real solidarity. Fair distribution of at least 100,000 refugees among the EU states is what in fact we need today,” Tusk told a press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

EU leaders have already rejected mandatory quotas way below 100,000, agreeing only at a summit in June to the voluntary relocation of 32,000 from Syria and Eritrea, short even of the target of 40,000 set by the European Commission in May.

Orban has repeatedly rejected quotas and insisted again Thursday that Hungary was only fulfilling its EU obligations in its handling of the thousands of migrants seeking to get into the country and on to other EU member states, principally Germany.

“People all over Europe are full of fear,” he said, warning that the 28-nation bloc had to implement current border control and asylum rules to reassure them.

“Nobody up to now has been able to offer good advice” on any alternatives, he said, adding that perhaps Tusk would have something to say to him on that score.

Hungary has built a razor-wire fence along its border with non-EU member Serbia in an effort to control the influx, a move sharply criticised by some of Orban’s EU partners.

Tusk said that “not everyone is a fan of Hungary’s action but one thing is clear, Hungary took action to protect EU borders.”

At the same, he warned: “It would be unforgivable if Europe split into advocates of containment symbolised by Hungary’s fence and advocates of full openness.”

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