The leaders of 16 EU member-states will meet in a mini-Summit in Brussels on Sunday called by EC President Jean claude Juncker to discuss ways to find common grounds in an effort to effectively tackle the immigration crisis. The meeting, which is an informal one ahead of the major June 28 & 29 official Summit on the same subject, will attempt to focus alleviating tensions among member states on the matter. Immigration has caused a rift in the EU bloc, has caused a rift in the bloc, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new coalition government facing an existential threat over migration.
Merkel came under pressure last week when her interior minister Horst Seehofer threatened to unilaterally implement an immigration “master plan” the chancellor is opposed to.
Last Monday, Seehofer said he would give Merkel until after the EU summit later this week to come up with a European solution.
Merkel on Friday played down the importance of Sunday’s meeting, calling it “no more and no less than a working and consultative meeting”.
Disagreement over how to reform European migration policy was rife among leaders in the days leading up to the summit.
A main priority is reform of the Dublin regulation that determines that the state through which an asylum seeker enters the EU is the state responsible for their asylum application.
Redistribution of migrants through quotas received fierce opposition from some countries after it was first proposed in 2015.
Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini on Friday reiterated his hard line on immigration.
In recent weeks, Italy’s new government has prohibited ships carrying migrants rescued in the Mediterranean from docking in the country’s ports.