As migration summits approach EU is more divided than ever

As migration summits approach EU is more divided than ever
By Daniel Bellamy with Reuters
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As migration summits approach EU is more divided than ever.


Angela Merkel is talking down upcoming meetings on migration this month, an issue which has split the EU and now threatens her position as Germany's leader.

Her coalition partner in government, the CSU party, is demanding that refugees claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and not in Germany.

"We won't have a solution at the council next week on the level of all 28 member states for all questions related to migration. So this weekend it will be about talking with the affected countries about all problems of migration, primary as well as secondary migration," she said whilst on a vist to Lebanon.

When Italy heard that the mini-summit on Sunday would focus on reducing secondary migration - migrants moving within the EU - and not primary migation - migrants getting into the EU - its anti-immigrant prime minister Guiseppe Conte said he wouldn't attend.

But in a Facebook post on Thursday Conte said Merkel had convinced him to change his mind.

"He wants to show that Italy has been spending more political capital, financial capital, more of its coastguards and defence ressources on this issue than other countries," said Ryan Heath, the political editor of Politico Brussels website.

"We've also heard from our diplomatic sources that files that we thought were very close to agreement - ones about how you harmonize standards for protecting asylum seekers, where do you send those who have legitimate claims, how do you send back those who do not have legitimate claims - those files are now back in the deep freezer," Heath added.

But other anti-immigrant states including the Visegrad Group which includes Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are staying away from Sunday's meeting.

At a Visegrad meeting in Budapest on Thursday Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that "we don't belong to this migrant-loving group of friends."

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