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  • Europe's migration crisis is hurtling towards a potentially defining turning point this month.

  • German chancellor Angela Merkel is facing the first electoral test of her refugee policy

  • just as the pillars of the EU's response come under sustained assaults.

  • EU leaders are preparing for an emergency migration summit on Monday against the grim backdrop.

  • Desperate scenes of the Greece-Macedonia border

  • where crowds of migrants are being beaten back from storming a fence with salvos of tear gas

  • Four crucial components of Europe's migration response are at stake.

  • Ms. Merkel is beset on all sides domestically and isolated abroad.

  • Her personal popularity still remains relatively high

  • but the arrival of 1.1 million refugees in Germany has dented her command of German politics.

  • Her CDU party is bracing itself for a poor showing in three state elections scheduled for March 13

  • that have turned into a referendum on the chancellor's refugee strategy.

  • She insists there is no Plan B,

  • but if two EU summits this month failed to deliver results, a stricter approach may be inevitable.

  • Turkey is a center piece of the EU's migration strategy.

  • Here at three months after the EU-Turkey deal to cut migrant flows,

  • more than 2000 people today are still making the Aegean crossing.

  • There is now a deadlock.

  • Ankara will not act more decisively until the EU starts taking in refugees directly from Turkey

  • had the EU wants numbers dramatically down before it will consider resettlement.

  • Diplomats are in despair, but one hard fact remains.

  • Neither Berlin nor Athens can cope, either politically or practically,

  • with another 1 million arrivals in 2016.

  • Up to 70 thousand refugees are forecast to be stuck in Greece in coming weeks.

  • There are serious concerns of a humanitarian crisis.

  • Ms. Merkel is worried.

  • Greece is in a fragile state politically and economically.

  • "We didn't keep Greece in the euro only to then leave it in the lurch," she said on Sunday.

  • The EU's flagship policy of relocating refugees in Italy and Greece has resulted in roughly 600 people out of a proposed 160,000 actually moving.

  • Worse still, countries are beginning to act alone to tighten borders

  • ignoring objections from Berlin and Brussels.

  • EU officials are frantically searching for ways to revive a common refugee policy

  • but it faces huge political obstacles.

  • One eurozone minister told us

  • "We're close to our worst nightmare, a negative spiral of closed borders and independent policies.

  • I don't want to go there, but we don't have long."

  • Alex Barker, Financial Times, Brussels.

Europe's migration crisis is hurtling towards a potentially defining turning point this month.

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Turning point in EU migrant crisis | FT World

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    Kristi Yang posted on 2016/03/02
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