Prominent EU leaders seek consensus prior to larger migration summit

Prominent EU leaders seek consensus prior to larger migration summit

Key EU states—Germany, France, Spain, Austria, Italy, Greece and Bulgaria—will meet in Brussels today to break an impasse ahead of

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Photo: AFP/John Thys

Key EU states—Germany, France, Spain, Austria, Italy, Greece and Bulgaria—will meet in Brussels today to break an impasse ahead of the crucial EU migration summit later this week on June 28-29.

The meeting is a last-ditch effort to find consensus before the talks. Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic are refusing to participate in today’s meeting, signalling that there is a real risk of coming to insurmountable divisions in the negotiations.

At stake are two different visions for the future of EU migration policy. Germany—with Chancellor Merkel under political pressure from her ruling coalition—is seeking to reduce the further movement by migrants after reaching the EU. This runs counter to Southern Europe’s desire for a more equal distribution of refugees.

A third option, promoted by the likes of Hungary’s Viktor Orban, is for offshore processing centres in North Africa. Although heavily criticised by EU migrant advocates, the plan has been supported by France’s President Macron and former Italian premier Matteo Renzi in the past. If no other choice presents itself, this option may gain further traction in the weeks ahead.

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