EU leaders hold ‘frank and open’ talks at emergency migration summit

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EU leaders have said an emergency summit on migration was positive but produced no firm conclusions.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the talks had not resulted in any decision on how to tackle the crisis but it had been agreed countries needed to work together.

Mr Sanchez said the meeting, involving the heads of 16 EU countries, were “frank and open” but “we don’t have any concrete consequences or conclusions”.

He added: “Everyone agreed on the need to have a European vision, a common position on a common challenge.”

The meeting followed the Italian government’s refusal to let the rescue ship Aquarius, carrying 629 people on board, dock in its ports. Spain agreed to accept the migrants in Valencia earlier this month.



A convoy composed of 630 migrants docked in Valencia, Spain on the morning of Sunday, June 17.

This footage shows people on the SOS Mediterranee Aquarius, one of the ships making up the convoy, cheering, dancing and listening to translators as Valencia’s shores draw closer. EU leaders hold 'frank and open' talks at emergency migration summit EU leaders hold ‘frank and open’ talks at emergency migration summit skynews migrants sos valencia 4338415




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Video:
Aquarius migrants arrive in port of Valencia

At the meeting, Italy came up with a 10-point plan and said the burden of migrants had to be shared by all member countries.

The plan, presented by Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, sought more EU support to help the Libyan coast guard patrol its coasts more effectively to stop migrant boats.

The plan argues that existing European asylum rules are obsolete.

The Italian proposal says other European countries must create welcome centres for asylum seekers so the burden is shared.

It also calls for EU investment in migrants’ home countries to give them an incentive to stay.

After the summit, Mr Conte said it had gone well and “we are all pulling in the right direction”.

Mr Sanchez urged the EU partners to help Spain deal with the arrival of thousands of migrants from Africa.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that any solution to immigration should be based on the human rights and solidarity principles that the European Union stands for.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said the meeting had created “a lot of goodwill”.

Mrs Merkel, who is fighting a domestic political crisis with her coalition partners over migration, said she was seeking “bilateral and trilateral” deals to cope with short-term migration pressures.

She said it had agreed that Europe’s outer borders needed to be better protected to stop illegal entry and added that “all countries should share the burdens” related to migration.

The UN’s refugee agency forecasts that about 80,000 people will arrive in Europe by sea in 2018 if current trends continue.



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