European Union refugee talks end with no solutions

28 June, 2018, 09:16 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has become the public face of Italy's new unbending line on migrants

Merkel's open-door migrant policy, which has led to the arrival of more than 1.6 million migrants in Germany since the start of 2015, is blamed for the rise of the AfD, now the country's main opposition party.

Noting that migrant and refugee arrivals have dropped significantly, Macron said "it's a political crisis that Europe and the European Union is mostly living today". "When someone has the right to protection and asylum, we should grant it".

Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron held out little hope they would be able to gather all 28 nations behind a single immigration plan at the upcoming summit.

The Italians, Greeks and Spaniards have recently borne the brunt of migrants coming from the Middle East and Africa, even after migrant boat travel to Greece from Turkey has been curtailed through a special deal promoted by the Germans.

The leaders are also to discuss proposals for centres in countries outside the bloc to separate genuine war refugees from economic migrants, who can be sent home. That would mean a hard border with Austria and could represent a fatal blow to the idea of "border-free travel" within most of the bloc.

The meeting comes ahead of a full European Union summit on migration next week.

The CSU last week gave Ms Merkel days to come up with a European agreement on resettling migrants before CSU Interior Minister Horst Seehofer starts turning refugees back at the border - an ultimatum widely seen as a bid to win over supporters from AfD.

Reactions to Merkel's failure to secure a deal varied but Malte Pieper, a correspondent with German public broadcaster ARD, felt so strongly about the failure she called on Ms Merkel to resign saying: "Clear the Chancellery for a successor whose name is not as loaded as yours is".




After hours of discussion Sunday, Merkel emerged speaking of increased "goodwill" and a good discussion, which would have been impossible given the time constraints of a normal summit. Currently, migrants are processed in the state in which they arrive-something that has recently placed a lopsided burden on countries like Italy, where the migrant crisis has not abated as much as it has elsewhere.

Leaders attending the summit will focus on protecting external borders, as well as tackling the secondary movement of migrants within the EU, Merkel said.

Amid the mud-slinging, Spain's new Socialist government agreed to take charge of the migrants and the ship eventually made a weeklong voyage to Valencia.

Spain's new prime minister Pedro Sanchez attempted to put a positive sheen on the talks, billed as an informal gathering of leaders and one that has highlighted increasingly desperate efforts to appease domestic political rifts in Germany while balancing Italian demands to stop people from arriving on its shores. The decline is even starker compared with 2016: It equals just 19 percent of the same period in that year.

"They (CSU) were historically Europe's most effective people's party, drawing in voters all the way from the right to the center-left", he said.

The leaders of 16 European Union countries spoke of a unified effort to solve the migrant crisis on the Continent, but their "mini-summit" failed to yield any concrete decisions.

Spanish authorities said they had rescued almost 600 migrants trying to make the perilous crossing from Africa, while off the coast of Libya, coastguards recovered bodies of five migrants and picked up 210 survivors, the coastguard said. "The immigration emergency continues in Italy, partly because France keeps pushing back people at the border", Italian deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio shot back on his Facebook page, warning Macron risked turning France into "Italy's number one enemy" on the issue.

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