Executive Summary for February 14th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including Poland’s pledge of funds to refugees in Lebanon, the deaths of two children on the river between Turkey and Greece, and Austria’s announcement of an E.U. summit on migration this September.

Published on Feb. 14, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Poland Pledges $10 Million for Refugees in Lebanon

Poland pledged $10 million for refugee housing in Lebanon as the Polish prime minister visited the country.

Mateusz Morawiecki, whose conservative government opposes E.U. refugee distribution quotas, emphasized the need to support refugees in regions where they live.

Morawiecki met with Lebanese president Michel Aoun, who asked for Poland to support Lebanon in returning refugees to Syria once it is safe to do so.

Lebanon hosts some 1.5 million Syrians who increasingly live in poverty and without documents. The country’s political leaders, facing elections this spring, have coalesced around the insistence that they must return to Syria.

Two Children Found Dead After Boat Sinks Near Greece-Turkey Border

A boat carrying refugees capsized in a river on the border between Turkey and Greece, leaving at least three dead and several others missing.

The boat was traveling along the Maritsa River when it ran into trouble, while search operations were hampered by strong currents and cold weather. Two of those who died were children, Turkish officials said.

The Turkish coast guard also intercepted 44 people after their boat capsized in the Aegean Sea. A 2016 E.U.-Turkey deal vastly reduced the numbers taking that route to Europe, but nearly 2,000 people have still made the crossing to Greece this year.

Austria to Host E.U. Summit on ‘Fight Against Illegal Migration’

Austria, which takes over the E.U. presidency this year, will hold a summit on the “fight against illegal migration” in Vienna this September.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was elected last year on an anti-immigration platform and formed a coalition government with Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party. He has pledged to take a hard line on migration at the European level.

After talks with Kurz in Vienna about the upcoming presidency, European Council president Donald Tusk told reporters he has “similar views” to Kurz on migration.

“Migration will remain a challenge for many years to come, which is why we want to find a solution that [will] make sure that the E.U., together with national states, can manage future migration flows efficiently and without creating new divisions in Europe,” he said.

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