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EU ministers to meet September 14 for urgent migrant talks

LUXEMBOURG: European Union home affairs ministers will hold emergency talks on September 14 in Brussels on the continent’s escalating migration crisis, the Luxembourg government said on Sunday.

“The situation of migration phenomena outside and inside the European Union has recently taken unprecedented proportions,” said the statement from Luxembourg, which holds the EU’s six-month rotating presidency.

“In order to assess the situation on the ground, the political actions underway and to discuss the next steps in order to strengthen the European response, the Luxembourg Minister for Immigration and Asylum Jean Asselborn decided to convene an extraordinary JHA (justice and home affairs) Council,” said the statement.

The call for a meeting of the EU’s 28 member states follows a joint call for the talks by Germany, France and Britain earlier in the day.

Germany’s Thomas de Maiziere, Britain’s Theresa May and France’s Bernard Cazeneuve held talks Saturday on the issue, on the sidelines of a meeting in Paris on transport security.

The trio “underlined the necessity to take immediate action to deal with the challenge from the migrant influx”.

They also called for reception centres to be set up urgently in Italy and Greece in order to register new arrivals, and for a common EU list of “safe countries of origin” to be established.

Berlin, which is expecting to receive 800,000 asylum-seekers this year, has been pushing for such a list, arguing that it would free up resources to help those fleeing war and persecution.

The number of migrants reaching the EU’s borders reached nearly 340,000 during the first seven months of the year, up from 123,500 during the same period in 2014, according to the bloc’s border agency Frontex.

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