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EU says 'only European solution' can end migrant row

Europe | 2018-06-18 19:02:00
EU says 'only European solution' can end migrant row
The EU Monday said "only a European solution" can solve a row over asylum rules that is threatening to throw Germany into political crisis and conflict with the bloc.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative coalition partners have delivered her a two-week ultimatum to find a European deal to tighten asylum rules or turn back migrants at the border.

The row comes with EU countries once again at loggerheads over immigration after Italy and Malta refused to let a rescue ship carrying 630 migrants dock, sparking a major dispute before Spain stepped in to take the new arrivals.

Margaritis Schinas, spokesman for the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, said he was hopeful that a collective solution could be found at the EU summit of June 28 and 29.

"The commission shares the view that only a European solution and a European agreement can address this issue, we have seen that in the past," he told a briefing.

"We are very confident that we have on the table all the elements that would facilitate an agreement in the European Council."

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer of Merkel's Bavarian coalition partners the CSU warned that if no solution was found at the summit, he would order border police to turn back migrants.

EU countries have been trying for two years to agree how to reform the bloc's rules on asylum and had set the summit as a target date to find a solution.

The main bone of contention has been the so-called Dublin rules, which put responsibility for dealing with asylum seekers on the country where they first arrive in the EU - a protocol that has put a huge burden on Italy and Greece, where most migrants land.

The commission has proposed a quota system to share asylum seekers around the bloc but Poland and Hungary have rejected this outright.

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