European Union countries have made a breakthrough in migration talks, sealing agreement on a plan to share out responsibility for migrants entering Europe without authorization, the root of one of the bloc’s longest-running political crises, officials said late Thursday.
After a long day of negotiations in Luxembourg, EU interior ministers endorsed a deal balancing the obligation for countries where most migrants arrive to process and lodge them against the requirement for other members to provide support, whether financial or by hosting refugees.
The pact will form the 27 EU countries’ negotiating stance in talks with the European Parliament, which has a different view of solidarity – one that requires countries to draw up detailed “annual migrant support plans” to help out frontline member states and the mandatory relocation of refugees.
Indeed, given the divergent positions, it’s possible the agreement could unravel during those negotiations.
Swedish Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency and brokered the agreement, described the deal as “a historic step and a great success,” but she expressed surprise that the long-held divisions had been overcome.