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European Leaders Push for International Cooperation in Refugee Crisis


Monday, January 11, 2016   

With the refugee crisis expected to grow in Europe this year, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of Macedonia is urging the United States and European leaders to come up with a "more coordinated" plan to help.

Gruevski says in 2015 his country helped with the safe passage of more than 600,000 refugees, many fleeing from war torn countries such as Syria.

But Gruevski also says Macedonia will need help as the number of refugees in Europe is expected to hit 3 million by next year.

"And we would like to see and welcome a bigger engagement of the United States in facing those challenges as the problem is global, and we need a joint approach," he says.

Gruevski says he's already working with other countries to create a European humanitarian corridor for refugee transit.

The idea is to guide the flow of refugees through Macedonia, while also ensuring their safety and the safety of the country's citizens.

As part of that balancing act, the prime minister is asking the U.S. and Macedonia's partners in the E.U. to help distinguish between refugees and what are called economic migrants.

Gruevski says his country does not have the resources to provide for those migrants who do not have a final destination.

"Our priority as a nation must remain on providing for safe transit for the refugees fleeing from war, who have a final destination in Europe,” he states. “As a small country, we must not jeopardize our ability to provide for those refugees."

According to the International Organization for Migration, in the last two weeks of December, more than 30,000 refugees passed through Macedonia.

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