November 10, 2015 / 2:55 PM / 4 years ago

EU expects G20 battle to recognize migration crisis as a global issue

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union expects a battle at the summit of world leaders in Turkey on Sunday to have its migration crisis recognized as a global problem needing a global response, an EU official said on Tuesday.

A migrant man rests next to a pile of lifejackets, moments after arriving on a raft on the Greek island of Lesbos, November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies (G20), including the United States, China, Japan, Russia, Canada, Australia and Brasil, are to meet next Sunday and Monday in the Turkish sea resort of Antalya to discuss global economic issues.

But Europe, which is facing an unprecedented inflow of refugees from the war-torn Syria, Iraq and Africa, also wants the G20 to help it address what has become a crisis with one million refugees expected to come to Europe this year alone.

Turkey, which hosts the summit, has itself already taken in two million people from neighboring Syria and Iraq. Hundreds of thousands continue their journey on to Europe.

“The G20 has to recognize the scale of the problem and the fact that it is a global issue,” one senior EU official said.

He said the chairman of European leaders, Donald Tusk, and the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, who will represent the EU, want the G20 to declare a step up of funding for international organizations dealing with migration crises.

They will also seek a declaration from other G20 members, especially the United States and Saudi Arabia, that they would be ready to themselves accept more refugees.

“We would also like to see commitment to increased resettlement by all countries around the G20 table,” the EU official said.

The task will not be easy, because some in the G20, like Russia or China, do not believe that migration is even a topic for the G20, which has so far been mainly a forum to deal with global economic issues.

“We realize this will be a pretty difficult sell,” the EU official said.

“If you have a couple of countries starting with this kind of position and you need to adopt a text by consensus, its difficult. So I would not expect any spectacular commitments,” he said.

Europe will argue migration is a global problem because there are many other places in the world where large numbers of people are displaced for a long time for various reasons, including natural disasters.

The topic is also fit for the G20 because the migration flows have a substantial impact on the economies of the group and therefore should be discussed there, the EU believes.

Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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