The Home Affairs Council moved its decision to the compromise text put forward by the presidency at the end of the day, and then decided to proceed with the examination of the other items on the agenda. Qualified sources tell ANSA. The permanent representatives of the 27 are proceeding
with negotiations on the margins of the Council to see if agreement can be reached.
In the face of a "dramatic increase in flows in the central Mediterranean", the redistribution of migrants among other European countries has been less than "1500 people", which is well below the limited commitments undertaken and is a symptom of the "failure" of the principle of solidarity. The complaint comes from Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, in his speech to the Interior Affairs Council in Luxembourg. In Italy "the memory of the tragedy of Cutro is still alive" and Lampedusa has become "a migrant management center" with heavy local implications. "Strong EU foreign action" is therefore needed to tackle the migration problem.
On the agreement on the summit table, he added: "I do not want to express a clearly opposed position but we must imagine on some points the possibility of further negotiations". Italy, he added, wants to take a position of "responsibility" towards the possible agreement on migration, he assured, which must however also be demonstrated towards "Italian and European citizens" for a reform that would otherwise be "destined to fail in reality". Among the points listed by the minister is that of "negotiating again" on adequate "reasonable" capacity, to reach a quota of "20 thousand places" with a multiplier of "a maximum of two", the introduction of the "annual ceiling" and "the mere notification of the Commission" on the suspension of mandatory border procedures, "flexibility on the principle of safe third country" avoiding connection. Liability in SAR cases - for what would replace the current Dublin mechanism - should "be limited to 12 months". Piantedosi then expressed "strong doubts" about the implementation of financial compensation for non-relocation given that so far voluntary solidarity "has not worked". It would also be essential to "provide for a review clause after one year".
"France pays a high price in secondary movements, but we will play our part not only in financing but also in relocation. But there
must be relocations and at the moment there is not enough solidarity with the southern states. The compromise that has been found is not perfect but it can work." This was stated by Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior of France, at the round table of the meeting.
But German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser insisted: "We have to reach an agreement today. We succeeded when Putin attacked Ukraine, it was not easy when the countries of the East were flooded with refugees. But please do not put new demands at the table, please find a compromise: I ask everyone to join forces because if we do not succeed the Schengen area will be at risk".
Upon arrival at the summit, several ministers expressed optimism that an agreement could be reached. "I am sure that today we will find an agreement, the time has come after years of discussion and if we do not find it we will have lost everyone," said Spaniard Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gómez. "The goal for us was to find a good balance between solidarity and responsibility and we are very close to this balance."
"Almost three years have passed since the presentation of my proposal - was the comment of the Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson - it was a marathon, now we still have 100 meters to go, we are close to finding an agreement: I expect that the Member States will be able to complete these few meters". "It is important to underline that the agreement is not a game between losers and winners, a zero-sum game: when we act together we are very strong, but if we are not united we are all losers because no one can manage migration alone".
EU Home Affairs, Johansson: 'Close to the agreement on migration and asylum'
Darmanin spoke of the need to "find a compromise to be able to respond to our public opinion on the problems of migration, which are important: France has its position but we must keep the point of view of other countries, we still need a little bit of work. The agreement can show European citizens ahead of the European elections that when the EU is united, it gets results." Maria Malmer Stenergard, Sweden's Minister of Migration, is also optimistic: "We are very close to the agreement, now there are no more valid reasons to take steps backwards". "I understand that there are very tough national discussions, but it is a balanced package and the right thing to do is to approve it," he stressed.
In order to reach an agreement on migration today at the Home Affairs Council, diplomatic sources stress, it will be crucial for some countries, such as Italy, to bring home the principle of "connection". That is, the possibility of transferring migrants who have been refused international protection to a country other than their country of origin, provided that it is judged safe enough and there is a sufficient "connection" to be able to proceed with the transfer (for example a stay of a certain period of time before arriving in Europe).