ZAGREB, July 23 – Fourteen European Union member states, including Croatia, on Monday agreed to the Franco-German “solidarity mechanism” to allocate migrants across the EU, but the proposal was not accepted at the EU level, a source close to the French president told Reuters news agency.
At an informal meeting in Paris, EU interior ministers failed to reach agreement on a migration control mechanism and on migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea.
“The conclusion of this morning’s meeting is that, in principle, 14 member states, at this stage, have expressed their agreement with the Franco-German document,” President Emmanuel Macron told journalists.
He said the new initiative would be “quick” and “automatic”.
A source close to the French presidency told Reuters that in addition to France and Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Lithuania, Croatia and Ireland had also signalled a clear intention to move forward with a new system.
French interior minister Christophe Castaner said last week that the aim of Monday’s meeting was to gain the support of about 15 member states for a “solidarity mechanism”.
Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini, whose country is at the forefront of the migrant influx in Europe, did not take part in the meeting. In a letter to Castaner, Salvini warned of the effect of decisions “solely taken in Paris and Berlin.”
Italy took in almost all of the migrants rescued by humanitarian groups at sea until a populist coalition government took office in 2018 and immediately sought to close the nation’s ports to the charity ships, Reuters said.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at least 426 people have died during attempts to reach Europe in the Mediterranean sea so far this year.
Macron also said France had asked the Libyan government to ensure migrants would no longer be placed in custody in the country and that appropriate measures would be taken to ensure their safety.