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EU leaders call for groundbreaking deal on migrants



BRUSSELS – The leaders of the European Union made a breakthrough on Friday in dealing with migratory pressure after talks throughout the night met Italy's demands for more help.

The EU leaders said that the agreement will strengthen the bloc's external borders and improve solidarity between member countries in order to relieve pressure on immigration countries such as Greece and Italy.

The plan calls for migrants in North Africa to be assessed for asylum and to set up control centers within the bloc of nations that engage in voluntary work

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has not only demands from Italy, but also strong domestic pressure Breakthrough to avert a government crisis in their own country.

"We have found a European solution and cooperation" French President Emmanuel Macron

For several years now, EU countries have been trying to stem the flow of those who make the dangerous journey by sea to the continent desperate attempt to consolidate EU unity on a subject that has led to a political crisis in several Member States.

"We are not an island," said Macron. "Europe will have to live a long time with such migratory pressures coming from crisis-hit countries and poor countries."

So far, no North African countries have agreed to participate in the plan, although possible EU funds could bring in billions. The aid could prove convincing.

For a long time, Italy had held any interim agreements at the summit, unless there were concrete commitments that the country would receive assistance in tackling the wave of immigration from the Mediterranean.

"Italy no longer needs verbal signs, but concrete actions," Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said, insisting that responsibility should be distributed more equitably across the EU.

Like so many EU agreements, Friday's deal has not played the crucial role by far but created enough of a platform to build on.

"Europe goes step by step, and that was necessary," said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Details are sketchy, but the pillar The proposed EU plan envisages building a virtual wall in North Africa, putting people who are trying to travel to Europe to centers in countries like Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia are housed. The funds of the European Union would be used to persuade countries to sign, although no interest has yet been signaled.

Khalid Zerouali, Morocco's director of migration and border surveillance, told The Associated Press that the kingdom was not interested in a migrants' search station: "That's not the solution."

Migrants sometimes use Morocco as a starting point to reach Spain, which has witnessed an increase in migrants by sea this year. Zerouali said that this year about 25,000 people have been stopped so far.

The International Organization for Migration estimates that 80,000 people will enter Europe by sea this year, based on current trends. That is about half as many as in 2017.

Nonetheless, anti-immigrant parties have made significant political achievements, most recently in Italy, which is one of the preferred landing destinations for people in Africa, along with Greece and Spain, seeking a better life , Since 1965, the Party has seen a boom when more than 1 million people invaded Europe, especially from Syria and Iraq. Populist leaders in Southern and Eastern Europe have rejected Merkel's call for a comprehensive reform of Europe's migration system.

But Merkel is aware of the threat posed by the issue for Europe, in particular its Schengen Passport-free travel area – one of the gems in the EU's crown – that allows easy cross-border business and travel routes.

"Europe has many challenges, but migration could determine the fate of the European Union," said Merkel on Thursday before the summit.

The partner in Merkel's coalition government calls for the departure of migrants on the German border with Austria. EU officials fear that such a move would trigger a domino effect that would cause Austria to close its border with Italy, and Italy would close its ports completely with migrants rescued at sea.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he hopes the summit will

"Rescue in the Mediterranean should not automatically become a ticket to Central Europe," said Kurz, another proponent of the plan to investigate migrants in North Africa ,

Brussels wants the International Organization for Migration and the UN Refugee Agency to oversee the Africa Plan but to seek refuge for migrants in the EU

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Associated Press authors Dave Rising, Frank Jordan and Geir Moulson in Berlin and Amira El Masaiti in Rabat, Morocco contributed to this report.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.


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