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  1. ITV Report

Europe warned 'greatest tide' of refugees still to come

Refugees waited to board buses on a field in a Croatian village while Europe's leaders met at Brussels to tackle the continent-wide crisis. Credit: Reuters

European leaders have been warned the "greatest tide" of refugees is still to come after emergency talks aimed to get to grips with the accelerating crisis.

Proposals to commit more than one billion euros (more than £733 million) to manage the spread of refugees across the continent were agreed at the summit in Brussels.

But European Council president Donald Tusk said the policy of "open doors and windows" must still be dealt with amid bitter divisions over border controls.

"The measures we have agreed today will not end the crisis but they are all necessary steps in the right direction," he said.

David Cameron committed an extra £115 million to tackle the emergency as he arrived at the summit. Credit: Reuters

A statement issued after the five-hour meeting, which included discussions over a three-course dinner, said the leaders, including Prime Minister David Cameron, "decided on a number of immediate priorities" but "all recognised that there are no easy solutions".

The statement called for "operational decisions" on a number of steps within weeks, including:

  • A response to the needs of refugees with additional funds of at least one billion euros;
  • Assistance for Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and other countries affected by a mass exodus from Syria;
  • Help for Western Balkans nations in handling refugee flows;
  • Tackling the "dramatic" situation at Europe's external borders, with strengthened controls;
  • Help for countries on the front line to process and fingerprint migrants at so-called "hotspots".

The document concluded: "We urge institutions, agencies and member states to accelerate their work on all aspects of the migration crisis."

Mr Cameron committed Britain to an extra £115 million to tackle the emergency as he arrived at the summit.

An extra £100 million will be given to help refugees displaced in camps in countries neighbouring war-ravaged Syria, taking the UK's contribution in the region to £1.1 billion.

In addition, the UK will provide £14.5 million towards aid in Europe, the Western Balkans and North Africa, including £2 million for agencies in Libya.

Following the meeting, EC president Tusk underlined the scale of the growing crisis.

It is clear that the greatest tide of refugees and migrants is yet to come. Therefore we need to correct the policy of open doors and windows. Leaders also agreed that the current chaos at our external borders must end. The measures we have agreed today will not end the crisis but they are all necessary steps in the right direction.

– European Council president Donald Tusk

Earlier this week interior ministers agreed a plan to relocate 120,000 refugees currently in Italy, Greece and Hungary among the member states.

The scheme provoked a furious row, with four former eastern bloc states - Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic - voting against, while Finland abstained.

Britain exercised its right to opt out of the scheme.

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