BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union must do all it can to keep its Schengen zone of passport-free travel intact through proper management of the bloc’s external borders, European Council President Donald Tusk said on Tuesday.
EU leaders hold talks with African leaders on controlling migration on Nov. 9 in the Maltese capital Valletta and Tusk has called an informal meeting of EU heads of state on Nov. 12.
In his invitation letter to EU leaders published on Tuesday, Tusk said the migrant situation was still very serious as the flow reached a record of 218,000 migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea in October.
“As I have warned before, the only way not to dismantle Schengen is to ensure proper management of EU external borders,” Tusk wrote.
“We must do all we can to keep Schengen intact and so any initiative that may lead to the re-establishment of borders within Schengen should be withheld. If we are to avoid the worst we must speed up our actions.”
He said the EU heads of state would assess implementation of measures decided so far, including stepping up cooperation with non-EU states such as Turkey, reinforcing capacity to receive migrants and reinforcing control of external borders.
Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Janet Lawrence