EU leaders ask for compromise as immigration arrivals increase

EU leaders ask for compromise as immigration arrivals increase

EU leaders are asking member states for compromise as immigration arrivals continue to increase.

European Union leaders made a fresh effort today, Friday, October 22, to overcome their differences on how to handle the current immigration crisis. However, they disagreed on the best way forward, with the head of the bloc’s executive saying there would be no EU funds for ‘barbed wire and walls’.

The actual total immigration numbers are relatively low compared to the bloc’s population of almost half a billion people, the issue however feeds support for nationalist and populist groups across the EU, and this is what is being blamed for making it harder to reach a compromise among its 27 members.

“Recent months have shown that the pressure of migration is not letting up. It’s actually rising again,” said Austria’s new chancellor, Alexander Schallenberg.

A tightening of the bloc’s external borders was essential, he said, endorsing Lithuania’s call for EU financing for hard border infrastructures such as drones or fences.

“I was very clear that there is a longstanding view in the European Commission and in the European Parliament that there will be no funding of barbed wire and walls,” said European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, signalling her opposition to this demand.

EU leaders tasked the bloc’s executive Commission with making proposals, without giving a figure or specifying at this stage what the funding should be spent on.

EU border agency Frontex said this month that almost 134,000 had tried to cross into the bloc from all the directions so far this year, nearly 50% above the figures reported for the first nine months of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Germany, Luxembourg, France, the Netherlands and Belgium have taken in many of refugees and migrants who entered the bloc since a spike in irregular arrivals across the Mediterranean overwhelmed the union in 2015-16.

The EU has tightened asylum rules and its external borders since more than a million refugees and migrants reached Europe across the Mediterranean six years ago and cut deals with countries like Turkey and Libya for people to stay elsewhere along the global routes.

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Ron Howells

Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!. Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.