10:15 20 July

2-day EU leaders summit begins in Brussels

A two-day EU leaders summit has kicked off Thursday in Brussels, APA reports quoting AA.


The summit, which gathers 28 EU leaders, is to focus on the migrant issue, the relations with the U.S., cooperation in defense and security, and the economic and monetary union.


Speaking to journalists before entering the meeting hall, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the countries that hosted a high number of refugees needed to be supported.


“We should show solidarity [...],” she said.


French President Emmanuel Macron also said that cooperation was needed in order to solve the issue, adding it was not possible to solve it through the national prism.


“A common solution should be reached at the European level [..]. We should protect our borders and show more solidarity,” he said.


Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz, who strongly favors putting migrants in “camps” outside EU territory.


“Arrival center, protection center or safe harbor, whatever the name is... the idea behind the name is what matters to me. Everyone who is saved in the Mediterranean won’t be given automatic entrance permission to Central Europe,” he said.


“We need to control the flow of migrants. For this, similar deals to the Turkey’s one can be made with the African countries,” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.


In March 2016, the EU and Turkey reached an agreement to stop irregular migration through the Aegean Sea, and improve the conditions of more than 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.


The EU pledged €6 billion ($6.9 billion) in funding for the refugees. Some $3 billion were sent and the EU promised to mobilize the second €3 billion ($3.4 billion) tranche by the end of 2018.


Italy waits for action


Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said: “Italy doesn’t need new remarks on the migrant issue, it needs actions.”


Stating that Italy would present its own solutions, Conte added: “We have to take a decision now. If no decision can be taken at this summit, we will have to solve the issue by ourselves.”


“We may not reach a common conclusion at the end of the summit,” he said, mentioning a veto.


If Italy does not prevent it, the final declaration may allow transfer the second tranche to Turkey.


Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that his country would oppose every proposal that suggests a relocation of refugees.


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also said people did not want anymore refugees to enter their country.


“People want the ones inside to be sent outside [of the country]. I think we should pursue this in order to restore European democracy,” Orban added.


Poland and Hungary have been leading the opposition to mandatory quotas of the EU Commission for the relocation of refugees among the EU member states.

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