European Union must cooperate on migration: commissioner

Italy doubles down on anti-migrant stance ahead of EU summit

Facing a domestic political crisis in Germany over the topic, Chancellor Angela Merkel will be seeking to get European Union leaders to forge a joint approach to manage the influx.

"We understand there are domestic political difficulties in some countries but that can not lead to pan-European haste", Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in an apparent dig at Merkel.

Cooperation deals with Turkey and Libya, the main transit countries, have sharply cut, at least for now, the flow of migrants to Europe since a 2015 peak of over one million.

Even though new arrivals have dropped, the political consequences of migration pressures are still reverberating around Europe.

Another gleeful onlooker, Christian Lindner of the Free Democrats, pointed to Merkel's "dramatic loss of authority", while also accusing the CSU of "holding hostage an entire continent".

The fate of the Aquarius rescue ship and its more than 600 migrants sparked a heated debate this month over European Union states' responsibilities towards asylum seekers.

At the summit Merkel acknowledged that a pan-European solution to the migration crisis failed and said Germany was now seeking to address it through a series of bilateral and trilateral agreements with individual members. At stake could be the European Union's (EU) prized borderless movement in the area known as the Schengen zone, which is the foundation for many other aspects of European integration.

Macron, who was elected a year ago as France's leader, made the comments at a news conference in Paris with Spain's new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. He said leaders planned to try to sort out the legality of a range of ideas meant to clamp down on illegal migration. And with Austria, whose government is fiercely anti-immigrant, taking over the next rotating presidency of the European Council, you can't expect a change in priorities anytime soon.

Another from French President Emmanuel Macron is to establish closed camps inside Europe where migrants could await the outcome of their claims.

"Macron's statements on the fact that there is no migration crisis in Italy show that he is completely out of touch with reality".

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He said that Europeans should "not forget our values".

In recent weeks, Italy's new populist government has cracked down on foreign rescue ships operating in the Mediterranean.

A similar proposal to create so-called "regional disembarkation platforms", where asylum seekers would be separated from economic migrants, but only in countries surrounding the Mediterranean, was leaked earlier in the week and endorsed by the European Commission. The decline is even starker compared with 2016: It equals just 19 per cent of the same period in 2016.

Spanish authorities said they had rescued almost 600 migrants trying to make the perilous crossing from Africa, while off the coast of Libya coastguards recovered bodies of five migrants and picked up 210 survivors, the coastguard said.

"A country like Italy has not at all the same migratory pressure as previous year".

Italy's prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, was speaking at a mini-EU summit in Brussels, where he said a plan from his government presented at the summit represented a paradigm shift in dealing with migration.

Draft conclusions included calls to speed up returns to countries tasked with processing them, such as Italy.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's long-time allies in Bavaria are on track for their worst ever performance in October elections, according to a poll on Monday, suggesting their harder line on immigration is failing to lure voters from the far right.

"The reality is that Europe is not experiencing a migration crisis of the same magnitude as the one it experienced in 2015", the French president said.

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