EU leaders reach consensus on migration but divisions remain
EU leaders reached an agreement on migration in early hours of Friday morning after almost 10 hours of chaotic talks in Brussels, but as German Chancellor said divisions remained.
"EU28 leaders have agreed on (summit) conclusions, including on migration," the chairman of the talks, Donald Tusk, said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was a good sign that EU leaders had been able to agree over the sensitive issue threatening the union and zone of free travel, as well as her government, but acknowledged that deep divisions remained among member states.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been under intense pressure to find a breakthrough to stave off a government crisis at home. Her coalition partner, the Christian Social Union and its leader, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, had threatened to impose tough new border rules to stop migrants from entering Germany.
French President Emmanuel Macron also said a hard-fought deal reached by European Union leaders on migration showed "European cooperation" had prevailed over national interests.
European leaders agreed to create new “centers” on European soil for housing and processing asylum seekers, and to take an array of other cooperative steps on migration policy.
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez said EU leaders agreed to assign more fund for managing migration crisis.
The plan, still falls far short of an overall agreement to revise the EU’s asylum rules, which has bedevilled and eluded leaders since the height of the migration crisis in 2015.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte that his country demanded the bloc do more to help Rome’s migration crisis, said he was satisfied by a deal on migration. He listed the elements of the agreement, including the possibility of setting up migrant centres in EU countries to decide on asylum requests adding Rome would decide later on whether to host centres for migrants.
Italy's new hardline Prime Minister has warned that he might veto the conclusions on migration before later hardening his position to block all the conclusions, including on security and defence, jobs, growth and economic competitiveness.
Italy's new government has closed ports to ships rescuing migrants daring the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing from north Africa, and taken a hardline approach on negotiations.
The euro jumped as much as 0.6 percent on Friday after news that a deal had been reached.
Arrivals to the continent have dropped sharply since a 2015 crisis that drew sharp divisions among the bloc’s 28 members about how they should respond. Some countries promoted more open-door policies, while others set up barriers to prevent those who reached Europe from crossing their borders.
Despite a significant drop in the number of people seeking refuge in Europe, thousands of desperate migrants continue to make their way to European shores. Many make the perilous journey by sea.