EU states agree deal to tackle crises in migration and asylum
EU member states have come to an agreement on overhauling their rules on responding to big increases in irregular migration.
In addition to a steep rise in arrivals on the Italian island of Lampedusa, the deal came after weeks of negotiations over the EU crisis mechanism.
As part of the plan, countries in crisis would be able to request “solidarity contributions” from other countries.
Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, called it “a real game changer”.
The agreement would allow talks with the European Parliament to proceed, with the aim of securing a migration pact before June 2024’s elections.
Since the number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to the EU has risen sharply this year, there has been increasing pressure for a pan-EU deal.
In total, nearly 190,000 migrants have reached southern European shores, including 133,000 in Italy, while at least 2,500 are thought to have died in the process.
Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s anti-immigration prime minister, warned that frontline Mediterranean states are struggling to cope with the high numbers. There has been a diplomatic spat between her government and Germany for weeks.
Berlin praised the humanitarian role charities played in saving lives in the Mediterranean, but Ms Meloni said rescue ships’ registered countries should be responsible for the people they rescued.
A deal was announced on Wednesday by EU ambassadors in Brussels, ahead of a European Union summit in Granada on Friday.
According to the EU, member states will be provided with a framework to adjust asylum and migration rules during times of crisis.
Margaritis Schinas, vice-president of the European Commission, called the pact the “last missing link” in the EU’s migration plan