EU leaders reach agreement on migration after late-night summit

EU leaders reach agreement on migration after late-night summit
Copyright REUTERS/Eric Vidal
Copyright REUTERS/Eric Vidal
By Katy DartfordCristina Abellan-Matamoros with Reuters
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Leaders of the European Union reached a deal on migration after late-night talks in Brussels.


European Union leaders have reached an agreement on migration after almost nine hours of talks in Brussels over the sensitive issue threatening their union and zone of free travel, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government.

"EU28 leaders have agreed on (summit) conclusions, including on migration," the chairman of the talks, Donald Tusk, said.

What are the key elements?

  • Setting up regional disembarkation platforms from where smugglers operate with the help of third-party African and Middle Eastern countries and international organisations to break up the smuggling business. 

  • The possibility of setting up voluntary asylum processing sites in EU countries to decide on asylum requests

  • Launching the second phase of the EU Facility for Refugees programme in Turkey, which brings humanitarian assistance to refugees currently living in Turkey

  • Allocating ‎€500 million from to the EU Trust Fund for Africa, an aid fund for the continent to help it with its growing challenges.

  • More action from EU countries on returning migrants who do not qualify for asylum to their respective countries

  • Reduce the movement of asylum seekers between Schengen member states

What did EU leaders have to say?

Italy had earlier blocked any agreement at the summit - which was also about trade and security, among other things -unless EU peers meet its demands over migration.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he was satisfied by a deal.

"It was a long negotiation but from today Italy is no longer alone."

French President Emmanuel Macron said the deal showed "European cooperation" had prevailed over national interests:

"Europe will have to live with migratory pressures for a long time. We must succeed in standing up to this challenge whilst being true to our values."

Tweet reads: "Many predicted the triumph of national solutions to the migrant issue. Tonight we succeeded in finding a European solution."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged that deep divisions remained among member states:

"Overall, after an intensive discussion on the most challenging theme for the European Union, namely migration, it is a good signal that we agreed on a common text," Merkel said.

"We still have a lot of work to do to bridge the different views," she added.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, "We have long been calling for these protection areas, safe zones,

landing centres, however, one wants to call them, outside of Europe ― this idea has now prevailed."

The euro jumped as much as 0.6% on Friday after news that a deal had been reached.

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