Italian PM satisfied with ‘right direction’ at EU migration summit

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Brussels, June 25 (IANS) Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he is “definitely satisfied” with the migration summit in Brussels, hailing that European leaders “have the right direction in the current debate”.

The Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction in a tweet on Sunday after the summit ended, without going into detail, Xinhua news agency reported.

When leaving the summit, his German counterpart Angela Merkel told reporters that “we are all responsible for all issues”.

“That means it can not be that some care about the so-called primary migration, while the others care about the secondary migration,” she said, alluding to overstretched frontline states like Italy.

The EU should offer the second tranche of 3 billion euros to Turkey under the cash-for-repatriation deal, and continue to provide support to the Lybian coast guard, Merkel stressed.

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The EU struck the deal with Turkey in March 2016 and engaged Libyan coast guard in cracking down on migrant trafficking, following the peak year of 2015 which saw more than 1 million irregular migrants flocking to Europe.

The informal summit, convened by European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker, is expected to lay the groundwork for the formal one slated for June 28-29, when the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) will feature prominently on the agenda.

Italy has long been frustrated at bearing the brunt of the migratory pressure under the current Dublin Regulation whereby migrants lodge asylum claims in the first EU country they enter.

The simmering discontent has vaulted the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement and the nationalist League into power.

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Migration has recently returned to the fore on EU agenda as a war of words broke out between France and Italy over a rescue ship loaded with over 600 migrants.

The ship eventually docked in a Spanish port after being turned away by Italy, whose new right-wing, populist coalition government has taken a hardline stance on immigration, as promised on the campaign trail.

–IANS

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