EU leaders agree migration deal amid late night talks in Brussels

EU leaders agree migration deal amid late night talks in Brussels
French President Emmanuel Macron, centre, greets Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar during a breakfast meeting at an EU summit in Brussels this morning. Photo: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

EU leaders agreed a compromise deal to tackle the migration crisis following late-night talks in Brussels.

Amid strong resistance from Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte, leaders remained at the talks until 5am where Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the other leaders finally agreed a package of measures.

Among these was the creation of reception processing sites in EU front-line states and a commitment to explore so-called “disembarkation platforms”.

These are essentially camps and centres where rescued refugees could be sent in Northern Africa.

Yet, sources have said attempts to amend the EU’s asylum regime, the so-called Dublin regulation, which requires asylum seekers to make their applications to the member-state they first land in, were rejected.

On his way into this morning's session, Mr Varadkar said: “I just want to confirm that just before 5 am last night the 28 EU member states managed to agree a compromise framework on going forward when it comes to managing illegal migration largely based on a few principles - first of all, that this is a European problem, and one that we need to work together on.”

“We committed to working with African countries, supporting them to build up governance, to build up security and to create economic opportunity. We’re providing over €500 million in addition - an extra €500 million - to the European trust fund for Africa,” he said.

“As well as that, we took the view that at least among countries that were willing to do it, that there would be a degree of burden sharing, a transfer of migrants to countries. And Ireland has already agreed to accept some from that as well,” Mr Varadkar told reporters.

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the compromise deal on migration. “Many predicted the triumph of national solutions on migration. Tonight, we succeeded in achieving a European solution,” he said on Twitter.

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