The European Union’s leaders meet for a summit in Brussels today with migrants top of the agenda.
The divisive issue needs a collective response, but that has proven hard to find until now, and the combined political and economic challenges thrown up by the arrival of so many refugees, mainly from the Middle East and Africa, represents the gravest crisis the EU has had to face in its history until now.
Ironically, one of the most important contributions that could be made will come from non-EU member Turkey.
“Without any doubt Turkey plays a key role in this situation. We will not be able to regulate the flow of refugees if we don’t cooperate with Turkey. That includes increasing our support for Turkey in the way that they handle the refugees and humanitarian aid,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel just ahead of the summit.
Also on the agenda is British Prime Minister David Cameron’s EU membership referendum, to be held before the end of 2017, and his ideas on EU reforms and concessions which fellow members are keen to hear the details of.
While tens of thousands seek entry some already in, notably in Hungary, Greece, and the UK, are chafing at what they see as Brussels’ restrictions, and want out.