Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

European Union leaders defend migration deal as doubts emerge

WorldEuropean leaders reach accord on migration issue WorldEuropean leaders reach accord on migration issue
Patty Aguilar | 02 July, 2018, 21:57

"I'm not anxious about a veto", the former Luxembourg prime minister said, adding that he has been pleading for years for member countries to show more solidarity with Italy. "I am not sure we will find an agreement between the USA and the European Union but we'll try", he said.

Failure to issue a joint statement would be a catastrophic show of disunity for the EU leaders, who are meeting amid warnings that authoritarian and "anti-European" movements will profit from their failure to tackle migration. Countries in North Africa and the Middle East would be offered European Union financial aid in exchange for agreeing to set up screening centers, referred to in the document as "regional disembarkation platforms".

Moroccan authorities described such measures as "easy solutions" and "counterproductive", as the so-called "regional disembarkation platforms" in Africa would not stop the flow of Europe-bound migrants.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also seemed satisfied, saying his country was no longer alone in dealing with floods of migrant arrivals.

The majority of people in Central, Eastern and Southern European countries are opposed to migration and see an importance in preserving Christian culture, according to a new survey conducted by Nézőpont Institute.

Tusk thinks Trump's action on tariffs, which the EU insists is pure protectionism, and pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal — an agreement the Europeans say is vital to their security— is part of a pattern rather than isolated incidents.

The deal, which calls for establishing voluntary screening centers in Europe to more quickly assess whether migrants are eligible for asylum, had threatened to be undermined by objections from Italy.

Merkel, for her part, is fighting a battle at home and overseas against critics who accuse her of endangering European security with her hospitality.

The number of migrants arriving in Europe has plummeted in recent months, down from more than a million in 2015 to tens of thousands so far this year.

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A migration deal among all 28 European Union states is unrealistic, so Merkel is pushing for a "coalition of the willing" on migration.

Splits run deep over how to respond to an influx of migrants that has weakened European unity, helped bring populists to power in some countries, most recently Italy, and now threatens to unravel German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition.

Merkel has been besieged over the issue.

The agreements struck by Merkel could placate the hardline rebels in her government.

Over 700,000 boat migrants have landed in Italy since 2014.

Austria, where new Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is an immigration hard-liner who governs in coalition with the far right, is absent from the list.

Also laid out in the letter is a plan to send German police by the end of August to help strengthen the EU's external border in Bulgaria to reduce the number of migrants entering the passport-free Schengen zone.

The NGOs that operate in the Mediterranean in order to rescue migrants were furious at the deal.

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