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Italy threatens to veto EU statement on migration

Italy threatens to veto EU statement on migration

Italy has recently refused to let several migrant rescue boats dock at its ports, demanding that the responsibility for people arriving across the Mediterranean should be shared between other countries.

But critics, including some politicians and analysts, say that Europe risks abdicating its responsibility at a time when migrant flows are drastically reduced from their 2015 peak, and that it would be inviting additional challenges with facilities hosted by poorer and less-stable countries, where people - including minors - could languish in unsafe conditions.

However the claim included in the document that Germany has secured deals with 14 European Union member states to take back asylum-seekers already registered in those countries was quickly thrown into doubt.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is ready to sign a deal with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to make it easier for Germany to send asylum seekers back to other European countries, the Financial Times reported yesterday (27 June).

The summit conclusions called on member countries to take "all necessary" steps to stop migrants initially arriving in countries such as Italy and Greece from moving on to Germany.

Speaking of his pleasure at a deal on migration being reached, Italy's new hardline Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said: "Italy is no longer alone after this European Union summit".

"On EU territory, those who are saved, according to global law, should be taken charge of, on the basis of a shared effort, through the transfer in controlled centers set up in Member States, only on a voluntary basis", read the 10-page statement that also encompassed security and defense.

"Finally Europe has been forced to discuss an Italian proposal".

"The only thing European states appear to have agreed on is to block people at the doorstep of Europe regardless of how vulnerable they are, or what horrors they are escaping - and to demonise non-governmental search and rescue operations", MSF's emergencies chief Karline Kleijer said.

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Numerous migrants attempting the perilous journey across the Mediterranean use countries like Libya and Morocco as a staging point. 'Nor is there any solution to the situation of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea'.

Merkel was given an ultimatum by her interior minister to reach a European deal on migration at the summit or face unilateral action that explicitly went against her wishes, in a political crisis that threatened to bring an early end to her fourth coalition government.

Twelve hours after talks began, at 4.30 CET, Council President Donald Tusk said on Twitter that "EU28 leaders have agreed on... conclusions" including migration.

The news agency said, "the leaders agreed to restrict migrant moves within the bloc but made clear virtually all of their pledges would be carried out on a "voluntary basis" by member states".

Merkel said arrivals had dropped by 20 percent in the first five months of the year compared with the same period in 2017.

Migration has become a point of contention for Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany.

The talks, which concluded at about 4:30am Friday, also included an agreement to increase border security and speed up the process of handling the petitioner's right to asylum and of extraditing those who don't qualify.

"It's possible to begin a turnaround in migration today", said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who took power a year ago in a coalition with a far-right party on an anti-immigration platform.

Europe's leaders got the bitter taste of what anti-system diplomacy, or creative disruption means. Early Friday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that "today Italy is no longer alone".

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