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EU divided over handling of migrants, refugee crisis deepens

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Photo Credit: www.foxnews.com

By NewsGram Staff-Writer

Roszke, Hungary: As the number of migrants entering Hungary through the Balkans saw a record increase, Austria suspended the cross-border train services on Thursday.

Photo Credit: www.cnbc.com
Photo Credit: www.cnbc.com

Germany which has already accepted around 450,000 migrants this year, has warned that the EU’s efforts to distribute 160,000 new arrivals among the member states is only “a drop in the ocean”, according to a report in the Times of India.

Germany has urged the 28-nation group to go further. German Deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said: “The distribution of 160,000 refugees across Europe is a first step if one wants to be polite.”

Meanwhile, the eastern members of the EU, as well as those in the frontline of the migrant influx, are putting forward stiff opposition to the EU’s migrant-distribution plans. They have refused to accept any binding quota from EU.

In light of the refugee crisis, Romania President Klaus Iohannis has said: “It is inappropriate to talk about mandatory quotas, calculated on an extremely bureaucratic basis, almost like an accountancy exercise I might say, without consulting member states,” as quoted in a TOI report.

The Greek island of Lesbos has registered around 22,500 refugees since Monday evening. In Hungary, 3,321 refugees rushed to the country on Thursday before a strict anti-migrant law comes into effect.

Austria had to suspend its train operations to Hungary due to massive overcrowding. The UN refugee agency has warned that at least 42,000 refugees are likely to enter Hungary next week.

EU interior ministers are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss the easing out of the mounting pressure on the border members by distributing the refugees across the block.

EU lawmakers have called for an international conference with the United Nations, US, and Arab countries to discuss the issue of migration amid the Syrian refugee crisis.

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Government Of Germany Lays Out Plan To Phase Coal Out By 2038

Despite its reputation as a green country, Germany relies heavily on coal for its power needs

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Coal
Water vapor rises from the cooling towers of the Jaenschwalde lignite-fired power plant of Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG beside a wind turbine in Jaenschwalde, Germany, Jan. 24, 2019. VOA

A government-appointed commission laid out a plan Saturday for Germany to phase out coal use by 2038.

The commission — made up of politicians, climate experts, union representatives and industry figures from coal regions — developed the plan under mounting pressure on Europe’s top economy to step up efforts to combat climate change.

 

Coal, Germany
coal-fired Scherer Plant, one of the top carbon emitters in the U.S., is seen in Juliette, Georgia, June, 3, 2017. (VOA)

 

“This is a historic day,” the commission’s head, Ronald Pofalla, said after 20 hours of negotiations.

The recommendations, which involve at least $45.6 billion in aid to coal-mining states affected by the move, must be reviewed by the German government and 16 regional states.

Climate
A wind turbine overlooks the coal-fired power station in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. VOA

While some government officials lauded the report, energy provider RWE, which runs several coal-fired plants, said the 2038 cutoff date would be “way too early.”

Also Read: Australia Rejects U.N. Climate Report, Continues Using Coal

Despite its reputation as a green country, Germany relies heavily on coal for its power needs, partly because of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to phase out nuclear power plants by 2022 in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Coal accounted for more than 30 percent of Germany’s energy mix in 2018 — significantly higher than the figures in most other European countries. (VOA)