European Union text on migration 'positive' but divisions remain - Merkel

02 July, 2018, 14:14 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Angela Merkel may have to choose her words carefully

After a marathon summit in Brussels lasting more than 12 hours, European Union leaders agreed on a plan to deal with migration in the early hours of June 29.

"European markets are rising nicely in the wake of a migration deal in the European Union", said Charles Schwab analysts.

When the incidents at sea were unfolding, the European Commission claimed that it lacked competence to ensure the migrants being rescued by the Italian national coast guard in charge of search and rescue operations in the area.

They also agreed to study setting up similar centers outside Europe, in North Africa, for example, to screen migrants before they arrive. The noise level was so high at one point that Ms. Merkel stopped and said: "My God".

Merkel and her backers, including French President Emmanuel Macron and EU Council President Donald Tusk, say ultimatums and unilateral actions will only weaken the European Union and not solve the problem. PM Conte said at the meeting that the EU Member States have a shared responsibility for the migrants that arrive in EU, and Italy does not have to carry the burden on its own. "Some may think I am too tough in my proposals on migration".

Bertalan Havasi, spokesman for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, stressed that Budapest's position "remains unchanged since 2015".

Migrants are crossing the Mediterranean in far lower numbers than at their peak in 2015, but the influx remains a source of bitter contention in Europe. That's around half as many as in 2017.

According to the document seen by Reuters, the bilateral agreements will make the deportation process for refugees who have earlier registered elsewhere far more effective.

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"Germany has not addressed us and I will not sign this agreement", Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said in a statement.

But the leaders failed to agree on long-stalled plans to overhaul Dublin that include a permanent quota to share migrants arriving in Italy and Greece around all other European Union countries.

Merkel, for her part, is fighting a battle at home and overseas against critics who accuse her of endangering European security with her hospitality. Populist leaders in southern and eastern Europe have rejected Merkel's calls for a wholesale reform of Europe's migration system.

Speaking to reporters at 5 a.m. (0300 GMT), she said it was a good signal that leaders had been able to agree a common text, but acknowledged the bloc still had "a lot of work to do to bridge the different views". Six months on, the survival of her government is at stake as her conservative Bavarian allies threaten to shut their borders if she fails to strike a deal.

The Maltese government said three babies and three adults were being treated at a hospital.

But substantial confusion remained over what the 14 countries had agreed to. "They are more than equivalent in their effect", she said.

Maltese officials seized the ship, citing irregularities in the sea rescue.

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