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Migration, a key issue on EU’s agenda

Comments on the migration issue are still provided in today’s European press, which notably reports that this controversial matter will be discussed in the upcoming EU gatherings. While Le Monde says that meetings are set on 16 and 25 June to decide the distribution of 40,000 Eritrean and Syrian asylum seekers (currently in Greece and Italy) as well as 20,000 UN refugees camping near Syria’s borders,

The Guardian notes that Brussels is struggling to put into effect a new quota system for sharing refugees, with EU interior ministers due to meet today in Luxembourg to try and hammer out a response to the European Commission’s proposals. The Malta Times says that the EC is urging EU governments to send back migrants who cannot claim asylum, taking a tougher line to convince reluctant countries to receive new refugees fleeing Syria and Eritrea.

Trouw recalls some of EC President Juncker’s declarations, asking the EU member states to accept the refugees as it is unacceptable that only Mediterranean countries have to deal with the issue. The Dutch newspaper and L’Echo express scepticism on a political solution to the asylum problem to be found, considering that it seems farther away than ever. Ta Nea and The Malta Times – among others – report about Reuters’ revelations, saying that Commissioner Avramopoulos wrote to Europeans ministers to call for the EU’s so-called return policy to be stepped up. Dimitris Avramopoulos stressed that sending those home who were simply seeking for a better life and did not merit asylum would serve as a deterrent to people trying to cross the Mediterranean.

Most media outlets provide reactions on Italian PM Matteo Renzi’s “plan B” which is raising concerns. According to L’Humanité, European leaders would be wise to listen to Mr Renzi’s suggestion, planned in case the EU does not show more solidarity to Italy’s migrant crisis. He wants the EU to take its own responsibilities and EU member states to adopt the relocation plan proposed by Brussels, adds the French daily.

Mr Renzi criticises Berlin, Paris and The Hague for “sitting back and relaxing” while the growing number of refugees is putting Italy in peril, as quoted by Hans-Jürgen Schlamp on The author acknowledges that Mr Renzi is “serious” when calling for the allocation of 30,000 illegal refugees, especially due to growing xenophobia amidst the population. With some EU member states now enforcing entry bans, the vision of solidarity is crumbling, Mr Schlamp adds.

Italian discontent towards Europe is also expressed by Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, who considers that the EU would find “a different Italy” if it doesn’t endorse a refugee redistribution plan during the EU interior ministers’ meeting, The Washington Post reports. El Periódico de Catalunya’s leader writer argues that the EU’s refugee crisis is travelling northwards, “widening a rift between neighbouring countries and EU member states that should have never been opened.” The editorial piece adds that such a breach means nothing less than “a defeat for the European project when 30 years have passed since the signing of the Schengen treaty.”

Pravda daily features an interview with international relations expert Daniela Irerra, who estimates that Italy might issue a temporary permission to the refugees to cross the Schengen borders. Along the same lines, Politiken reports that, even though Mr Renzi has refused to go into detail about his plan, Italian media are speculating that the government is considering giving all refugees a temporary residence permit, which would allow them to travel within the EU. Meanwhile, and Croatia’s index report that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein urged the EU to take bolder steps in dealing with the migrant crisis. The EU would be able to take in one million refugees from Syria and Libya, he adds.

In other major news on migration, several media, such as The INYT, recall that about 200 migrants have been sleeping along the shore near a border crossing in Ventimiglia, Italy, after having been turned away by France. The media say that this situation is raising tensions between Paris and Rome. Le Monde reports, however, that French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve would like to convince his Italian counterpart to install in his country temporary EU-managed accommodations.

In an interview with BMF TV, Mr Cazeneuve underlines that there are two types of migrants: those escaping persecutions and those willing to lead a happier life. He explains that Europe cannot welcome the latter, for this reason he discussed with African leaders how to stop this immigration in Africa. The French Interior Minister is also quoted in Diário Económico, Magyar Hirlap and Corriere della Serra – among others – saying that France is “simply abiding by Schengen and Dublin rules.”


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