Ten European Union leaders meeting in Brussels on Sunday will commit to further curb “illegal migration” to Europe and restrict movement of asylum seekers across the bloc, their draft joint statement showed on Wednesday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet her peers from France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Malta, Bulgaria, Belgium and the Netherlands for an emergency summit on migration, an issue that threatens the stability of her ruling coalition.
Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, which reject a program to share out asylum speakers across the EU, are not attending Sunday’s meeting.
Following are key elements of a draft joint declaration for the meeting, which sets the scene for a broader migration debate by all EU leaders on June 28-29 and which Merkel hopes will help placate her coalition partner, the Christian Social Union (CSU).
- The ten will warn against taking “unilateral, uncoordinated measures” on migration, like the ones proposed by the CSU.
- To reduce arrivals, they will agree to spend more on tightening the bloc’s external borders, including by committing more resources and equipment to their joint border and coast guard with the aim of building a 10,000-strong force by 2020.
- To that same end, they will work more with countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia to “further reduce arrivals to the European Union.”
- They will back prolonging a joint sea operation in the Mediterranean, training the Libyan coast guard and getting tougher on visas for countries that make problems taking back their citizens who fail to win asylum in Europe.
- They will offer more support, financial and otherwise, to frontline countries like Italy and Greece.
- They will back organizing “more protection and reception capacity outside the EU” for refugees and migrants.
- To combat “secondary movement” of asylum seekers to other EU states once they have applied in one country, they will agree to step up controls at bus and train stations, as well as airports inside the EU.
- They will aim to offer social and welfare benefits only to asylum seekers who stay in the EU country that is managing their case. They will want to impose punishment for those who move elsewhere.
- They will agree to seal bilateral agreements on “readmissions and transfers” and set up new procedures to make it easier to send asylum seekers who cross EU borders back to the states where they applied. [Reuters]