The EU’s emergency immigration summit

Due to the increasing tensions over the refugee crisis in Europe, the countries affected are due to hold an emergency summit this week. Despite the number of refugees falling in the last year, there’s still a large backlog in the applications. There’s also the issue of more far-right parties becoming part of coalition governments, which is resulting in the issue of migration climbing to the top of the agenda in these countries, therefore making them less likely to agree to a quota system.

What are the issues the EU is facing?

A growing number of far right groups are in coalition governments, and want to bring down immigration. For example, Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini has recently announced he wants to carry out a “census” of the Roma traveller population in the country and deport anyone non-Italian. In addition, there was an incident last week where both Italy and Malta refused to allow a refugee ship to port, despite there being over 600 people on board including children and pregnant women. The ship then had to make a four day trip to Spain.

Who will attend the summit?

The summit will be attended by representatives from Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Austria and Bulgaria; and it will take place in the EU’s de facto capital. It will take place just days before the quarterly European Council summit, where migration will also be top of the agenda. It also follows a recent meeting between Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, where a common approach on the ongoing issue was discussed.

What will be discussed?

According to leaked documents, the European Council may be considering a number of measures. One possibility is that there could be new migrant processing centres set up in North Africa. However, Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister warned that the EU is  “in a process of disintegration” over the issue of migration. He also noted: “We see states that are turning inward, trying to find national solutions to problems that require European solutions.”

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said on Wednesday: “I am convening an informal working meeting on migration and asylum issues in Brussels on Sunday, in order to work with a group of heads of state or governments of member states interested in finding European solutions ahead of the upcoming European Council.

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