EU reaches a crucial deal on migration

EU reaches a crucial deal on migration

EU reaches a crucial deal on migration Izvor: REUTERS/Toby Melville

European Union leaders have averted the collapse of a key summit with a deal struck on migration in the early hours of Friday morning, which will see the burden of resettling refugees shared more widely among member states.

The EU will also look into setting up migration centres in countries outside Europe, according to a statement from the EU Council. Italy had threatened to block a deal if migration was not addressed, a diplomat told CNN on Thursday.  

The meeting of European leaders, intended to focus on Brexit, was dominated by the issue of how to deal with the arrival of boatloads of desperate migrants attempting to cross into European waters.  

CNN said that at around 5 a.m. Brussels time on Friday, European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted that leaders had agreed on a joint statement from the EU28 summit that included a settlement on migration.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the deal took "long negotiation, but from today Italy is no longer alone."

In a statement, the Council said it had agreed to adopt a "comprehensive approach to migration that combines more effective control of the EU's external borders, increased external action and the internal aspects, in line with our principles and values."

"The European Council is determined to continue and reinforce this policy to prevent a return to the uncontrolled flows of 2015 and to further stem illegal migration on all existing and emerging routes," it said.

It added that more support would be provided to Italy and other Mediterranean countries, and "efforts to stop smugglers operating out of Libya or elsewhere should be further intensified."  

French President Emmanuel Macron said that despite suggestions a deal would be "impossible," member states had succeeded in reaching a "European solution."  

Earlier, in an impassioned speech ahead of the summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said migration could be a "make or break" issue for the European Union.  

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