Europe migrants: Italy warns passport-free travel at risk

Europe migrants: Italy warns passport-free travel at risk

Sixteen EU states presented a united front on migration in Brussels on Sunday (24 June), but tensions remain, with no solutions on paper for how to deal with people seeking global protection, their movements inside Europe, or plans to prevent them from taking boats from Libya.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, along with other EU leaders, attends a roundtable meeting at an informal EU summit on migration at EU headquarters in Brussels, June 24, 2018.

The discussion, noted Macron, ruled out "solutions that are not consistent with our values or global rights", such as pushing back refugees.

One of them, the Lifeline, is carrying 226 migrants rescued from the sea near the Libyan coast.

"Once on European soil, we are in favour of setting up closed centres in accordance with the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).so that each country takes people who are entitled to asylum in an organised way", Macron said.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he is "definitely satisfied" with the migration summit in Brussels, hailing that European leaders "have the right direction in the current debate".

"That means it cannot be that some care about the so-called primary migration, while the others care about the secondary migration", she said, alluding to overstretched frontline states like Italy. Libya, which was plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled strongman Muammar Gaddafi, remains the primary point of departure for asylum seekers to Europe.

French President Emmanuel Macron urged his counterparts to take advantage of the sharp drop in migrant arrivals since a 2015 peak - Europe's worst such crisis since World War II - to find solutions.

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With a populist backlash over her initial open-door policy toward asylum-seekers, Merkel emerged weakened in recent elections. "And we can't agree how to divide the responsibility of caring for them". "The rescue obligation can not become an obligation to process applications on behalf of all", notes the plan.

One boat, the Lifeline, remained in limbo on Sunday with 239 Africans aboard, including pregnant women and children, with Malta and Italy refusing to take it in, after the Aquarius suffered a similar fate until it was allowed to dock in Spain.

"A country like Italy has not at all the same migratory pressure as a year ago".

Italy threatened to boycott the summit after pre-determined conclusions were leaked, but decided otherwise after being assured that the notes were a misunderstanding.

However, the mood remains tense.

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".

The differences have sometimes turned personal, with Italy's new hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini most recently calling Macron "arrogant". Wherever possible, we want European solutions. Four member countries in eastern Europe refused to take part in the meeting because of demands that they take in more asylum-seekers to ease the burden elsewhere.New Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte presented a plan that argues existing European Union asylum rules are obsolete and "paradoxical."The current rules effectively mean migrants only can apply for asylum in the country where they first arrive, usually Italy or Greece.Conte said his 10-point proposal would be a "paradigm shift" in how Europe approaches migration and that he was "decidedly satisfied" with the outcome of Sunday's meeting."We have given the right direction for the debate underway".

"You can't have countries that massively benefit from the solidarity of the European Union and that massively voice their national selfishness when it comes to migrant issues", he added, in a clear hint to Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, which oppose the EU relocation scheme for asylum seekers.

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