Croatia to take part in Juncker's mini-summit on migrants

NEWS 22.06.2018 16:17
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Source: FRANCOIS LENOIR / REUTERS

At least 16 EU member states, including Croatia, will take part on Sunday in an informal summit on migrations and asylum-seekers, called by President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

On Wednesday, Juncker said he would call an informal meeting on Sunday designed to help find a European solution to problems of migrations and asylums. At the time, the European Commission did not say who has been invited to the meeting, and at first only eight countries were mentioned to take part: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, and Malta.

However, European Commission spokesman, Alexander Winterstein, said on Friday in a news conference that another eight countries said they wanted to take part in the summit – Croatia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Slovenia.

“The invitation still stands. Nobody has been excluded, everyone is invited, and no one is obliged to come,” said Winterstein, as reported by Croatia’s state news agency Hina on Friday. The Visegrad group countries – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic – all refused to participate in the Sunday meeting.

Winterstein added that there would be no news conferences, or any decisions made on Sunday, as it will be an informal meeting.

The media speculated that Juncker had called the meeting to help German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel’s cabinet is currently shaken by the conflict between her and Bavaria’s provincial authorities after they announced they would start returning migrants from the German border back to EU countries where they first entered the bloc’s territory.

The move was backed by Bavaria’s CSU, sister party to Merkel’s CDU. Merkel has openly opposed the announced plan, and was given a deadline to try finding a Europe-wide solution to the problem by the EU summit to be held on June 28-29.

German government spokesperson said on Friday that a common EU28 solution for the problem of migrations should not be expected to be reached in the summit later next week, and that “bilateral and multilateral” solutions should be sought at Sunday’s summit.

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