Prime Minister Miro Cerar: ” I`m glad that complementarity of my initiative on strengthening Macedonian-Greek border was widely recognised

The refugee crisis was at the centre as the EU summit kicked off in Brussels on Thursday, overshadowing Brexit, the other major topic on the agenda of the two-day meeting. EU leaders endorsed several objectives to curb the refugee crisis, with EU President Donald Tusk underlining the need for a combination of solutions. Slovenia’s Prime Minister Miro Cerar said, as the meeting ended, that he was “glad that complementarity of my initiative on strengthening Macedonian-Greek border was widely recognised”.

It is important for Slovenia that other EU members become aware that the time is running out and that action must be taken. The crisis is complex and must be addressed in a well-coordinated manner at several levels, sources close to the Slovenian government also said. Last night’s event was labelled in Brussels as a “meeting of the stubborn”, with Austria unofficially finding itself under pressure from Germany to delay by four weeks the planned restrictions, including the introduction of daily refugee quotas.

However, Austria intends to stick with the plan to start implementing the measures today. The EU leaders adopted several goals last night, including that the migration flow be curbed, outer EU borders better protected, illegal migration reduced and the Schegen zone protected. The leaders also welcomed NATO’s decision to launch a mission in the Aegean. The EU-Turkey action plan remains a top priority and a special meeting with Turkey is being planned for the beginning of March, according to Tusk.

Some leaders doubted the EU-Turkey action plan before the summit, but they have come to see that there is no better alternative, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said after the meeting. He hopes that more steps toward a joint EU solution will be made in the future, after last night’s summit endorsed a plan for refugee distribution among member states. In the face of the refugee crisis, the Brexit negotiations took a back seat at yesterday’s talks. The leaders will however discuss the UK’s demands and Tusk’s reform plan today. While Cerar tweeted that a “compromise is not far away” in the Brexit debate, Tusk said after the meeting that some progress had been made but that much still remained to be done.