Fewer than 700 refugees relocated to EU countries since September deal to relocate 160,000

European Union leaders have sought to press Turkey to do more to stop migrants from entering Europe and to shore up support for Greece, where thousands of people are stranded.

The leaders are expected to acknowledge that the main Balkan migrant route is effectively closed, after Macedonia – backed by Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary – limited border crossings to a trickle.

Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict or poverty have used the route in recent months to try to reach preferred destinations like Germany or the countries of Scandinavia.

Ahead of the summit in Brussels, thousands of people waited by Greece’s border with Macedonia hoping to be allowed to cross.

“Whatever it takes. We will go. We have nothing to go back to. Our homes are destroyed,” said Lasgeen Hassan, who, with the rest of his Kurdish Syrian family, wants to reunite with relatives in Germany.

EU leaders agreed in September to share 160,000 refugees arriving in Greece and Italy over two years.

As of March 3, fewer than 700 people had been relocated to other European countries.


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