The EU leaders agreed on several measures aimed at the resolving the migrant crisis, Financial Times reported on Saturday. Italy’s new prime minister welcomed an agreement struck on Friday as a sign that Italy was “no longer alone” in dealing with arrivals of migrants on its shores.
The EU members agreed on three key points during the recent discussing the migrant crisis. Among other developments are: i) strengthening external border controls, with more funding for Turkey and countries in North Africa; ii) exploring the possibility of “regional disembarkation platforms”, designed to thwart people-smuggling gangs by processing migrants outside the EU; iii) boosting investment in Africa to help the continent achieve a “socio-economic transformation” so people no longer want to leave in pursuit of a better life in Europe.
Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s PM, emerged from his first EU summit in open dispute with other leaders over how to interpret a migration deal that only hours before he had hailed as a major victory. Head of Italy’s Cabinet promoted his country’s position in dealing with arrivals of migrants on Sicilian shores. Mr Conte ended the Friday publicly sparring with Emmanuel Macron over the accord.
Italy’s PM bristled after French President Macron, one of the architects of the agreement, said France would not set up a “controlled centre” to take in asylum seekers arriving on Italy’s shores. The centres are a key piece of the summit agreement, which sets up a voluntary system for helping “frontline” states on the EU’s southern border cope with migrant arrivals.
According to Mr Macron, France is not a country of the first arrival, so it will not open migrant controlled centres.
“We will see what Italy says. Italy wanted EU solidarity, it is a response,”
President Macron added.
Mr Conte retorted that Mr Macron had been “tired” and that he rejected the French president’s inference that only frontline countries would set up centres, adding: “I deny what he said.”
The spat came after a marathon session of summit talks on Thursday and Friday, that underlined the determination of Italy’s new far-right Cabinet to try to impose its agenda on the European stage. At the moment, the migrant issue is the most vulnerable one for all 28 EU nations.