EU, Balkan states to open 100,000 spaces at refugee reception centers

Published October 26th, 2015 - 04:51 GMT

European leaders on Monday agreed to create 100,000 additional spaces in refugee reception centers to better handle the growing migrant crisis.

A European Commission summit concluded Greece will open reception centers with enough room to house a capacity of 30,000 migrants by the year's end.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will provide 20,000 spaces while an additional 50,000 spaces in reception centers will be created in Balkan countries -- Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, etc. -- which are popular routes for migrants attempting to gain asylum in seemingly more desirable countries, such as Germany and the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden and Finland.

As part of the deal, 400 police officers will be deployed to Slovenia, which is having difficulty with the mass influx of traveling migrants seeking asylum.

Although exact numbers are difficult to determine, more than 650,000 are estimated to have arrived by sea so far in 2015, the International Organization for Migration reports.

Many countries considered as only part of migrants' journeys have allowed migrants to travel onward to their desired destination, generating controversy within European leadership. Less wealthy European countries where migrants have been pouring into are having difficulty dealing with the sheer numbers.

More than 9,000 migrants arrived in Greece each day last week, the highest rate in 2015.

A migrant crisis has escalated throughout this year as people flee conflict and poverty mainly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Iraq. Migrants have arrived in Europe in often-dangerous journeys through the Mediterranean Sea and by land.

By Andrew V. Pestano

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