Italy, Germany clash over migration row; EU stares at ‘split’
While clashes go on in Russia in the race towards winning the world title in football, another serious clash is taking place in Europe on the issue of migration, Reuters reported.
On Thursday, June 21, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said a draft accord of the European Union (EU) had been withdrawn following a difference between him and German Chancellor Angela Merkel over an issue which is "splitting" Europe, the report added.
Meanwhile, four central European states, i.e., Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, have also said that they would boycott the EU's mini summit on migration, revealing their strong stand against Merkel and accusing countries of pushing the issue for domestic factors, the Reuters report added.
Ten EU leaders were set for an emergency meeting in Brussels on Sunday, June 24, with Germany and France eyeing a smooth deal which could get the approval at a full-fledged EU summit next week, the report added.
The declaration which now stands withdrawn had been prepared ahead of the emergency meeting and contained elements that Merkel needed to address to tame the dissenting Christian Social Union, her coalition partner from Bavaria, the report said.
The Conte government objected to the provisions that the asylum seekers would have to be sent back to the EU country where they had initially entered and in most cases, it is Italy.
The southern European country has seen some 6,50,000 boat migrants entering it over the last five years, giving a boost to anti-immigration and far-right sentiments. The country's far-right League came to power in a coalition government earlier this month with Conte becoming the premier.
Conte, facing domestic political compulsion, threatened to boycott the Brussels meeting unless the draft was changed. He spoke to Merkel on Thursday and later wrote on Facebook that the chancellor said that there was a 'misunderstanding' and the draft would now be shelved, the Reuters report added. Conte has now agreed to attend the Brussels meeting.
Germany, however, refused to acknowledge that there was anything serious and said it was in constructive talks with Italy, Reuters added, citing a German official also saying that the June 24 meeting is only a preparatory one.