EU Summit: hard to reach consensus on migration

(VOVWORLD) - Migration will be a key topic at the European Summit starting Thursday in Brussels. Prior to the event, countries have exhibited stark differences on the issue.
EU Summit: hard to reach consensus on migration - ảnh 1Migration will be high on the agenda of the EU summit in Brussels. (photo: AP)

The migration crisis seems to have subsided since its peak in 2015-2016 with the signing of agreement between the EU and Turkey, Italy and Libya, and a border fence in the Balkan countries. EU countries are less worried now about the number of migrants, but still struggling to define a policy for the asylum countries where the migrants first arrive, mostly Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece, and Spain.

Lack of unity on the migration issue

Leaders of 16 EU countries, more than half the 28-nation bloc, attended an informal summit in Brussels on Sunday conducted by the European Commission. 4 Middle-European countries – Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia – refused to attend the summit because they rejected the topic.

The summit failed to issue a joint statement on migration, although the representatives of the 16 countries expressed satisfaction with the discussion.

French President Emmanuel Macron said certain hard-line countries are taking advantage of the migrant crisis to cause political tension. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she expects to sign more bilateral agreements with the home countries of the migrants.

A dispute between Italy and Malta intensified when Malta refused to take in a Dutch-flagged ship carrying more than 200 rescued migrants. Italy’s Minister of Transport Danilo Toninelli said Monday that the rescue ship Lifeline was anchored in the Search and Rescue waters off Malta, adding that no other country was coordinating operations said it’s a sovereign country and no one can tell it what to do.

President Macron’s decision to impose financial sanctions on EU countries that refuse to take in migrants has added more fuel to the fire. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio shot back, saying that the immigration emergency continues in Italy, partly because France keeps turning back people at the border. He warned that Macron risks turning France into "Italy's number one enemy" on the issue.

What outcome for the EU summit?

The EU summit later this week will discuss a policy for countries receiving asylum seekers. Reliable sources say a joint statement from the summit will help improve asylum centers, impose financial and trade policies on the home countries of migrants and the main transit countries to better control migration, and improve cooperation with Libyan marine police to stop human trafficking.

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