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AUTHORITARIAN French President Emmanuel Macron mooted sanctions against EU member states that refuse to co-operate over the refugee crisis at the weekend.
“We cannot have countries that benefit massively from the solidarity of the European Union and which insist massively on their national selfishness when it comes to migratory issues,” he told a joint press conference with visiting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez yesterday.
“When we talk about a European solution, it can be intergovernmental, bilateral solutions, but we reject purely national solutions that go through closure of borders or non-co-operative approaches,” he added.
The French president had developed his position further when he arrived for last night’s EU mini-summit in Brussels.
He made clear he backs the establishment of detention centres, in accordance with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in areas where migrants often arrive first in Europe.
These centres would allow “a rapid response to asylum requests, a European solidarity so that each country takes in an organised way the people who are entitled to asylum,” he said, with unsuccessful applicants returned directly to their home countries.
Mr Sanchez accused the Italian government of being “anti-European” in its immigration policies by putting national self-interest before efforts to forge an EU united front.
He noted too that other member states have failed to help Rome cope with the arrival of large numbers of refugees, naming “europhobia” as the bloc’s biggest challenge at the moment, as some EU members shrink from agreeing on common policies.
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