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26 Jun 2018

Italian PM Warns EU Leaders that Schengen Agreement Is in Danger

Giuseppe ConteThe newly elected Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte has warned the leaders of the European Union that the Schengen agreement of border-free travel zone is in danger, because of the migration issue. PM Conte said at the informal meeting of 16 EU leaders in Brussels called by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that the EU member states have a shared responsibility for the migrants that arrive in EU, and Italy does not have to carry the burden on its own.

Whoever lands in Italy, lands in Europe… Schengen is at risk, – he is quoted to have said.

Such statement comes just after Italy refused to take in two rescue ships with migrants fleeing their countries, one of which traveled to Spain, and the other ship has been stranded in the sea since not only Italy, but Malta as well refused to open their door to them.

Italy formed its new populist coalition government earlier this month and has already taken a hard line on migration, threatening to deport half million undocumented migrants that remain inside its borders.

During the meeting, PM Conte also proposed the establishment of “protection centers” in the other EU countries, to make it easier for Italy, which has already received more than 600 thousand migrants within the past four years.

On the other hand, the French President Emmanuel Macron, has called on the elimination of “solutions that do not correspond to our (EU’s) values” as the refusal to let the refugees at the external borders of the EU.

Present at Sunday’s meeting, German Chancellor Angela Merkel highlighted that bilateral and trilateral agreements could become a must if the summit planned to be held next week fails to achieve an agreement on illegal migration between the EU Member States.

“Everybody is responsible for everything. Wherever possible, we want European solutions. Where this is not possible, we want to bring together those who are willing and find a common framework for action,” she said urging a shared response to the issue.

According to the UN’s refugee agency around 80 thousand people will arrive in Europe by 2018 by the sea, if the trends continue. Several leaders of EU Member Countries, including Italy and France supported the proposal to establish screening centers in Africa for potential asylum-seekers for eligibility before they set out for another continent.

The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said after the meeting that there were no concrete conclusions found, however he assessed that the talks were “frank and open”.

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