The European Union on Friday signed an agreement on setting up closed migrant centres where asylum appeals will be processed and decisions on “who will be returned” will be taken, the BBC reported. European Council chief Donald Tusk tweeted that members had arrived at an agreement on migration.
The joint communique did not specify where these centres would be set up. French President Emmanuel Macron said nations where migrants arrive first would host these centres. The agreement also involves restricting the movement of asylum seekers between European Union states. “We have struck the right balance between responsibility and solidarity,” Macron said.
Member nations will also decide on the resettlement of “genuine refugees” on a voluntary basis. Italy, which is the main entry point for migrants entering the continent from Africa, had threatened to veto the summit’s agenda if other nations did not start pitching in.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte expressed his content over the outcome of the negotiations. “After this European summit, Europe is more responsible and offers more solidarity,” said Conte. “Today Italy is no longer alone.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, said the bloc needs to do a lot more to resolve disagreements. Merkel’s coalition with her conservative allies depends on the outcome of these negotiations. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had relaxed the ultimatum he had given her to deny entry to immigrants registered in other parts of the European Union. Seehofer had initially proposed an immediate rejection of immigrants but later agreed to a phased implementation of the plan which contradicts Merkel’s stance on the matter.
Merkel had rejected the ultimatum.