LUXEMBOURG (Sputnik) — European People's Party (EPP) foreign ministers called for the creation of safe zones and reception centers for refugees in third countries in a statement on Saturday.
"We have to jointly offer safety and humanitarian assistance as close as possible to the places of origin by creating safe zones and initial reception centres in third countries where the asylum procedure can already be initiated," EPP head Joseph Daul and the party’s co-chairs Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok said in a statement.
The statement also called for tightening of the EU borders, fight against people smugglers as well as cooperation with regional actors.
Europe is currently facing a severe refugee crisis, as hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East and North Africa try to reach EU shores.
According to the European Union's external border protection agency, Frontex, the overall number of refugees detected at EU borders between January and July stands at 340,000, which is three times higher than during the same period in the previous year