Wednesday, July 04, 2018

NOW WHAT? EU leaders SCRAMBLE to salvage free movement as desperate Merkel sparks CHAOS

ANGELA MERKEL’S desperate bid to save her own job has sent the European Union into disarray with the bloc’s most influential leaders all squabbling over how to respond to questions on migration policy.The German Chancellor was put under pressure from her Bavarian allies the in the Christian Social Union, whose leader Horst Seehofer threatened to resign as Germany’s interior minister unless the country toughened up its border controls. Whether Mr Seehofer’s ultimatum was truthful or not, Mrs Merkel travelled to Brussels for June’s European Council summit with one goal in mind – secure her job by delivering a common European migration policy. After nine excruciating hours, European leaders eventually reached an agreement on how they should proceed to tackle the perceived migration issue plaguing the EU’s stability. Their deal, which was not enough to satisfy Mr Seehofer, failed to offer a shared responsibility for migrants arriving in Europe, instead allowing “voluntary solidarity” for the Continent’s efforts to tackle legal immigration with so-called “disembarkation platforms” to dissuade people from making the often fatal Mediterranean crossing.As well as the camps, leaders also agreed to centres being set up inside the EU’s borders, but there were no details on which countries may set them up or take in refugees. French President Emmanuel Macron said they would be in countries where migrants first arrive in the bloc. Italy – the entry point for thousands of migrants, mainly from Africa – threatened to derail the entire summit’s agenda unless they received help from other member states and argued centres should only be set up in countries if they agree to. After returning from Brussels, Mrs Merkel and Mr Seehofer restarted their own domestic negotiations to end the standoff threatening to bring down Germany’s government. The pair agreed on a compromise which would see transit zones established on Germany’s southern border to allow faster deportations of refugees who are not entitled to seek asylum in the country.Mrs Merkel said: “After a hard struggle and difficult days, this is a good compromise.” The German Chancellor said the agreement “allows us to preserve the spirit of partnership in the EU”. However, if the deal is agreed by grand coalition partners the Social Democrats, Mrs Merkel could deliver a policy which threatens the EU’s free movement zone – the Schengen area. As a result of the German’s announcement, Italy and Austria’s hardline governments said they would reintroduce border controls if Berlin was to go-ahead with its plans.A statement from Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said: “Should this agreement thus become the German government’s position, we feel compelled to take action and the federal government is therefore prepared to take special measures to protect our southern borders.” Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini threatened to lockdown the Brenner Pass – Europe’s main north-south trade route – which connects his country’s industry with Germany. The League leader said: “I’m ready from tomorrow to restore controls at the Brenner because Italy has only to gain from it.” The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, is monitoring the situation closely but have yet to act. They are waiting for Germany to finalise and submit their plans before evaluating whether they are in line with the EU’s principles of free movement.
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/983856/EU-news-Angela-Merkel-Germany-migration-Schengen-Sebastian-Kurz-Matteo-Salvini

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