French president Emmanuel Macron said he favors imposing financial penalties on EU states that refuse to accept migrants.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday at a joint press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, French president Emmanuel Macron stressed that Paris could not accept a situation where "countries that benefit massively from EU solidarity" give in to "national self-interest when it comes to the issue of migrants."

Macron comments come on the eve of an EU summit on migration policy.

"Paris and Madrid favor the setting up of "closed centers" on European soil for recently-landed migrants which would take on refugees in a 'coordinated way', allowing for a speedy investigation of whether or not they qualify for asylum status. These centers, created in cooperation with the UN Refugee Agency, would be based closest to where the migrants or refugees landed", French president said.

For those applicants who are not eligible for asylum status, Macron emphasized the need for European-level cooperation to send these people back to their country of origin directly, rather than via transit countries.

French president has stressed that he was in favor of "sanctions mechanisms" in cases of non-cooperation, including possible restrictions on structural EU-level aid.

The European Union has faced major political divisions over member countries' response to the mass influx of immigrants and refugees which began in 2015, with the EU's Eastern European members refusing to accept migrants on a mass scale and balking at the idea of refugee quotas.

Jun 24, 2018 07:34 Asia/Tehran
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