Europe fails to reach agreement on rescue of immigrants | News -

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French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Thursday (July 18, 2019) that EU interior ministers had failed to reach agreement on a mechanism for the distribution of asylum seekers arriving on the shores of the Union. But the French minister left the door open for a solution, saying efforts would continue.

ZHOFFER: Despite the failure, it is a step forward

For his part, German Interior Minister Zuhwefer said it was agreed during the talks today to finalize the plans to be presented in the first week of September next at the EU Special Summit in Malta.

"I believe that, given the different positions that emerged at the beginning of the discussions, we have made an important step forward," he said. But Finnish Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo said the talks were "just the beginning" and more efforts were needed.

Deutschland Protest für Seenotrettung in Hamburg (picture-alliance / dpa / D. Bockwoldt)

Demonstrations in major German cities in solidarity with rescue operations.

New meeting in Paris for consultation

French Interior Minister Kastner said further consultations would be held at a meeting of EU foreign and interior ministers in Paris on Monday. The goal was to persuade some 15 countries to participate in the mechanism, he added.

The EU has long struggled to reach agreement on a joint response to deal with migratory flows from North Africa. In the past, Italy received most of the immigrants, but the populist government in Rome began last year to retreat, asking other member states to accept their fair share.

According to a statement issued by Italian Interior Minister Salveni's office today, France and Germany have pushed for an agreement confirming that the European frontier countries on the Mediterranean have a primary responsibility for receiving rescued migrants at sea. But Italy and Malta opposed it.

The Italian minister's office explained that the danger lies in the fact that only asylum seekers will be distributed to the rest of the EU, while in Italy and Malta only "illegal immigrants" will be deported,.

Seenotrettung im Mittelmeer - Carola Rackete (picture-alliance / ZUMA Press / LaPresse / C. Cozzoli)

German Carola Rakeitha is the symbol of the rescue of refugees in the face of right-wing populist minister Salvini.

Take the concerns of Italy and Malta seriously

German Interior Minister Zehover called for the concerns of Italy and Malta to be taken seriously and explained the futility of discussions if those in need of protection could not get off somewhere. "After all, Germany can not welcome anyone," the minister said. "

Zohofer expressed confidence that the five main countries – Germany, France, Italy, Malta and Finland – could reach an agreement at the scheduled meeting in Malta early September. According to the mechanism supported by Germany and France, decisions would be made on the number of asylum-seekers to be allocated to each State on a case-by-case basis.

However, he stressed that in addition to saving migrants, the ministers agreed on principles including cracking down on human traffickers and applying EU rules in this regard.


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