Monday, July 4

Merkel achieves consensus on immigration for the European Council

Correspondent in Berlin



Merkel is working hard to prepare for the next European Council and with Italy counts especially in immigration-related matters. “Italy is a country of arrival, secondary flows affect us, so it is urgent to start acting from the countries of origin and we fully agree with this line of management,” said the Chancellor yesterday. Merkel after meeting in Berlin with Mario Draghi. “In the discussions we’ve had,” he added, “there have been very little differences of opinion and it’s a nice feeling.”

The German Chancellor also has hopes for the Libya Process, held these days in Berlin. For his part, Draghi confirmed that in the immigration file the commitment “is to help each other” and explained: “we have close views on the external dimension” of the matter.

Then there is the question of the relationship with Turkey. “We must open a perspective on the future, Turkey has every right to be supported” in the immigration file, Merkel said, “we cannot move forward without cooperation with Turkey.” The head of the Italian government also agreed. Answering a question, Draghi answered “yes” to the renewal of the agreement with Ankara on cooperation in the immigration file and insisted on the “external dimension” of the immigration problem, “which means a greater presence of the EU in the north africa, a joint presence and work that are in common benefit and help stabilize that region.

Draghi also stressed that the two countries are founded on Europeanism and Atlanticism, that they share positions regarding China, Russia, and North Africa and went on to extend the consideration consisting of the ‘Next Generation’ funds, “which will be fundamental for the economic boost in Italy.”

Degree of agreement

Early in the morning, Merkel had received the President of the European Commission at the Berlin Chancellery, Ursula von der Leyen, by noon he had held a videoconference with the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, with which he also commented on preliminary matters of the European Council on immigration and with which he welcomed the fact that the European Commission has approved the Austrian recovery plan, which allocates 58% of the 3,500 million euros that it is endowed with climate protection. Foreign Ministry sources commented that in the conversation between Merkel and Kurz there was also a degree of agreement on the “external dimension” migration approach.

In all conversations, moreover, Merkel and her interlocutors agreed that “we must be cautious” with the evolution of the pandemic. “Happy about the substantial improvement but aware that it is a very fragile progress.”

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