BRUSSELS — Eager to push the migration crisis back beyond their own frontiers, European leaders gathered in Brussels on Thursday to endorse stepped-up border controls and a push to get Turkey to control the flow of Syrians and others before they can reach Europe.
The gathering in Brussels, the fourth consecutive summit meeting focused on the issue, marked a shift away from the open-armed message sent over the summer by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany toward what critics describe as a “fortress Europe” approach.
Arriving in Brussels on Thursday, Ms. Merkel described the flow of people seeking refuge and a better life in Europe as “very disorderly” and called for joint efforts by the 28-nation European Union to secure the bloc’s external border.
Before flying to Brussels, Ms. Merkel told the lower house of Parliament in Berlin that Europe faced a “historic task” in dealing with the influx of migrants and must work with Turkey, where more than two million Syrians have taken shelter, to slow the flow toward Europe.
“Without a doubt Turkey plays a key role in this situation,” Ms. Merkel said. “Most war refugees who come to Europe travel via Turkey. We won’t be able to order and stem the refugee movement without working together with Turkey.”