European Union leaders back Africa, Balkans migrant reception centres

Macron Attacks Italy’s New Govt Warns Euroscepticism Is Spreading ‘Like Leprosy’			LUDOVIC MARIN  AFP  Getty Images		22 Jun 2018

At an informal meeting of 16 European Union leaders in Brussels, Giuseppe Conte called for shared European Union responsibility for rescued migrants and penalties for countries refusing to accept quotas.

Draft conclusions included calls to speed up returns to countries tasked with processing them, such as Italy.

Italy's new prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, leads a coalition in which an anti-immigrant party has dominated the debate.

"The rescue obligation cannot become an obligation to process (asylum) requests on everyone's behalf", the document said. This would relieve overcrowding in current processing facilities.

The vessel - named Lifeline and operated by the German aid group Mission Lifeline - is now in Maltese waters with 224 people on board whom its crew pulled from the Mediterranean.

The President of France Emmanuelle Macron said about the need to impose economic sanctions against countries that refuse to accept migrants.

Rutte proposed breaking up the migration issue so that groups of European Union countries negotiate their own deals, rather than the European Union as a whole trying to control the number and direction of migrants.

This follows its 2015 decision to process the applications of most Syrian asylum seekers who reached the country during the peak of the migrant crisis, even if they had landed elsewhere first.

Migrants walk from the main station in Dortmund, Germany, to a hall at the height of the migrant crisis in 2015.

The new Italian government has taken one of the most hardline stances on illegal migration in Western Europe in recent weeks with Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, head of La Lega, leading the way by banning several migrant transport NGO vessels from docking in Italian ports. The decline is even starker compared with 2016: It equals just 19 per cent of the same period in 2016.

"We do not have a crisis of numbers".


The leaders of the Visegrad group countries, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, announced on Thursday they would be boycotting Sunday's summit altogether.

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.

Nobody at the summit accepted Merkel's proposal that willing member states form separate agreements where EU-wide consensus isn't possible, instead insisting on a European solution, according to an EU government official familiar with the discussion.

Amid signs of nervousness from some in the CSU over their collision course with Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), Merkel sent a conciliatory message to the CSU, describing its 70-year-old alliance with her Christian Democrats (CDU) as a "bond of fate".

European Union states will agree later this week to spend more money on Syrian refugees in Turkey and provide more cash for Africa projects.

Germans are turning against Merkel's warring conservative union, which now has its lowest approval rates since last November according to a poll published in Bild on Sunday.

The CSU last week gave 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.

If that fails, he has vowed to order border police to turn back migrants, which means many will likely have to return to Italy.

Ms Merkel has already played down expectations of a breakthrough at the hastily-arranged talks on migration, which is dividing Europe and threatening her own government.

Meanwhile, Macron's popularity in France hit a new low of 40 per cent after controversies over spending at his residences, perceived elitism and cutting remarks on welfare benefits.

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