Tuesday

22nd May 2018

Germany shows little sympathy for Italy on migration

  • Berlin reminded Rome that it took in more refugees last year (Photo: Giampaolo Macorig)

Germany voiced little sympathy for southern EU countries' migrant problems at the summit on Friday (25 October), despite more drama in the Mediterranean.

The Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said there is no question of changing the EU's basic rule, the so-called Dublin regulation, under which countries through which asylum seekers first enter the Union have to take care of them.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

She said there was a "long and thoughtful debate" on migration, in which Bulgaria, Italy and Malta spoke out.

She also said that a special task force, which met for the first time this week, will in December propose how to help the Italian island of Lampedusa and how to build up Frontex, the EU's border-control agency.

She indicated that southern states are not the only ones dealing with the problem, however.

"I'd like to remind you the we have quite a large number of asylum seekers that we have accepted [in Germany] by European comparisons," she said.

"We feel that Dublin is the basis on which we should work, and that we need to add some short term measures on Lampedusa and on the seas around Lampedusa … We have today not undertaken any qualitative change to our refugee policy," she added.

Merkel spoke two weeks after some 400 people drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from north Africa to the small Italian island.

On Friday morning, the Italian coastguard said it rescued over 700 boat refugees from Mediterranean waters.

The official summit conclusions voiced "deep sadness" on the Lampedusa drowning.

But like Merkel, they noted the response should be to stop boats coming instead of remodelling the EU's immigration system.

They called for the "reinforcement" of Frontex and for "swift implementation" of Eurosour, a new surveillance system for the Mediterranean.

They said new "strategic guidelines" for changing EU law will not be looked at before mid-2014.

For his part, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters that some EU countries pledged to give Frontex more money, boats and planes.

The meeting fell short of calls for EU solidarity issued earlier by Italy and Malta.

But Italian PM Enrico Letta and Malta's Joseph Muscat welcomed the result despite Merkel's wariness.

"I think that we reached the key result that the issue has become a European issue, not simply an Italian issue, or Maltese, or Greek," Letta noted.

Muscat said: "We got what we were really after: a specific timeframe [the December deadline for ideas on short-term actions]."

MEPs approve EU border surveillance system

MEPs Thursday gave the green light to a new European Border Surveillance system. Critics says the deal places too much emphasis on stopping migration rather than saving lives.

Magazine

Saving migrants with cameras

For a brief while in October it seemed the EU might be shocked into doing something about the recurring immigration horror on its southern coastline.

Opinion

Linking EU funds to 'rule of law' is innovative - but vague

Defining what constitutes 'rule of law' violations may be more difficult than the EU Commission proposes, as it tries to link cohesion funds in east Europe to judicial independence. A key question will be who is to 'judge' those judges?

News in Brief

  1. Unknown professor proposed as Italy's new prime minister
  2. 154 German economists warn against eurozone reform
  3. Growing €176bn EU trade deficit with China
  4. All 4.8m Swedish homes get 'war preparation' leaflet
  5. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'
  6. Only Estonia, Greece and UK hit Nato spending target
  7. EU to start process to counter US Iran sanctions
  8. Macedonia PM sees 'possible solutions' in Greek name row

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Facebook threatened with removal from EU-US data pact
  2. Defence firms 'reap benefits' of their advice to EU
  3. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  4. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  5. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  6. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  7. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border
  8. Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline