EU, Balkan leaders agree migration plan

A 17-point plan to cooperate managing flows of migrants through the Balkan peninsula has been agreed upon.

FILE: Incoming refugees wait for a medical check after their arrival in front of the main train station in Munich, Germany in September 2015. Picture: AFP

BRUSSELS - European Union and Balkan leaders meeting in Brussels agreed a 17-point plan to cooperate on managing flows of migrants through the Balkan peninsula, the European Commission said early on Monday.

Among measures agreed at a meeting in Brussels on Sunday evening were that 100,000 places in reception centres should be made available along the route from Greece toward Germany, half of them in Greece and half in countries to the north.

The U.N. refugee agency would help establish them.

The leaders also agreed that the EU border agency Frontex would step up activity on the Greek-Macedonian border to ensure people trying to cross would be registered.

"We have made very clear that the policy of simply waving people through must be stopped," Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters, referring to agreements to cooperate and avoid unilateral national measures that have contributed to chaos throughout the region.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who pushed for the meeting to be called, said: "Europe must show it is a continent of values, a continent of solidarity ... This is a building block but we need to take many further steps."