EU Leaders to Meet Over Refugee Crisis, UK Referendum, UkraineEU | October 15, 2015, Thursday // 10:06| views
The EU council building is illuminated late in the evening during the head of state summit on the migrant crisis in Brussels on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
The Heads of State or Government of the 28 member states of the EU will convene at a regular meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.
The refugee crisis facing Europe will be the main topic of discussion at the summit as leaders will continue efforts towards establishing an effective, humanitarian and safe European migration policy.
At the informal, extraordinary meeting of the European Council on September 23, the EU leaders agreed that their priority should be strengthening of the external borders of the EU as well as increasing support for the countries in the neighbourhood and the refugees there.
They also focused on addressing the root causes through cooperation with the countries of origin and transit.
As a result, the EU engaged in an intensive dialogue with Turkey, which is the largest transit country.
European Council President Donald Tusk held talks with the Turkish leaders in Ankara on stemming the refugee wave to Europe.
EU leaders will review the Turkish calls on establishing a safe zone in northern Syria, a move which is opposed by Russia.
They will also consider preparations for a new migrant influx in the spring and the likelihood of millions of refugees flocking to Europe.
The leaders will discuss the future of the Dublin system, the specific role of hotspots and steps towards the strengthening of external borders, including a EU border guard.
They will make preparations for the forthcoming Valletta Summit, which is scheduled to take place on November 11-12 and will have a follow-up on the high-level conference on the Western Balkans route.
Among the other topics of discussion will be the five presidents' report on the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) as well as the latest developments surrounding the referendum planned by the UK on its EU membership.
The summit will also review preparations for the Paris climate change conference and update on the latest meeting of the Normandy format on the situation in eastern Ukraine.
At its plenary session on Wednesday, the European Parliament approved an extra EUR 401.3 M in EU funding to manage the refugee crisis.
The funds will be allocated to the EU member states most heavily affected by the migrant influx, non-EU countries hosting most Syrian refugees and three EU agencies dealing with most refugee-related tasks.
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