‘EVERY day counts,’ Jean-Claude Junker, President of the European Commission said. ‘Otherwise we will soon see families in cold rivers in the Balkans perish miserably.’
He was speaking at an emergency summit in Brussels on Sunday. However, rather then tackle the refugee crisis by offering the millions of people fleeing for their lives safe and free passage, the summit instead resolved to send more police to the borders and erect more fences to keep them out of Europe.
Such a move will leave refugees and their families to freeze to death. Temperatures in some Eastern European countries plunge to -16c during the winter months and thousands of families are stranded in makeshift camps exposed to the elements.
Last week, a record 56,000 people landed on Greek islands in just six days, desperate to get to Europe before the winter sets in. All the heads of 11 EU states and three non-EU countries agreed was more vicious anti-refugee measures including:
• To send 400 police officers to Slovenia.
• To ‘discourage’ the movement of refugees to neighbouring countries’ borders ‘without informing neighbouring countries’.
• To set up new checkpoints, border control, security fences and processing camps.
Meanwhile, the bodies continued to wash up on the beaches of the Mediterranean. A woman and two children drowned when an inflatable dinghy carrying 63 migrants hit rocks off the Greek island of Lesbos, Greek authorities said. Another seven people were missing.
Another 43 bodies of drowned migrants and refugees were recovered off the coasts of Libya over the weekend as rough seas caused refugee boats to overturn.
• Speed boats were seen being lowered from a much bigger vessel in the Mediterranean sea. Men dressed in black military uniforms wearing balaclavas attacked refugee boats, pointing automatic weapons at the refugees, puncturing their dinghies and stealing their engines, the Human Rights Watch has alleged.
Speaking to Human Rights Watch, Ali, a 17-year-old Afghan, said: ‘It was a grey plastic boat, a Zodiac, like a police boat and very fast. The men on board were all dressed in all-black military clothes and boots that had no insignia on them. We couldn’t see their faces because they were all masked.
‘They were armed with pistols and were very aggressive and they came right up to our boat. They cut the fuel line going to the engine, and took the cables. They broke the engine, and they hit me with the motor cable.’
At least 8 similar incidents involving masked men have been described to Human Rights Watch by more than one witness. Emblems of European and Greek flags have been recognised on the clothing of the masked men.