There is a willingness among EU nations for some operational changes on migration, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said at the end of an informal EU summit on the subject on Thursday afternoon.

In initial reactions to the summit, the Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel said progress was possible when the subject is taken up against in a formal summit on Thursday.

During the summit, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe  Conte said Italy wants all European Union countries to accept their share of economic migrants entering the bloc, or get less EU money.

"Each state establishes entry quotas for economic migrants," a document prepared by Italy says.

"It is a principle that must be respected, but adequate countermeasures must be provided for funding with respect to states that do not offer welcome to refugees," it said.

The document makes clear that Italy wants changes to the so-called Dublin regulation, which sets out EU rules for handling asylum seekers and migrants coming to the EU. The rules now say that the country where the asylum seeker enters the EU is responsible for handling his or her asylum request.

"Those who arrive in Italy, land in Europe," the document says, specifically noting the EU should have joint responsibility for those rescued at sea. It said the EU's Schengen passport-free travel zone was at stake. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said everybody is responsible for everything. "Wherever possible we want European solutions. Where this is not possible we want bring those who are willing together and find a common framework for action."

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said no conclusion was reached on Thursday, but EU leaders found more common positions than disagreements. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us