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20 September 2018 EU Informal Meeting in Salzburg on migration

On 19-20 September an EU informal meeting of heads of States or governments addressing migration issues is taking place in Salzburg. This meeting is being held a few days after a heated debate between Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn in an EU closed-door meeting that was leaked to the media.

In the invitation letter to the event, Donal Tusk stated: “The quest to end the migration crisis is a common task of all the Member States and EU institutions. If some want to solve the crisis, while others want to use it, it will remain unsolvable. I am hoping that in Salzburg we will be able to put an end to the mutual resentment and return to a constructive approach.”

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz opened the meeting by referring to the objections of Hungary, Greece, Italy or Spain to the Commission’s plan to strengthen Frontex to 10,000 staff in 2020. Austria also advocates for the creation of a landing platform for irregular migrants in North Africa, also a very much controversial proposal that African countries have already rejected.

While some internal issues remain unresolved, on the external front, all leaders agreed on the need to continue increasing cooperation with third countries, and that is why member states agreed to hold a summit with Arab League countries in February, in Cairo, to address the migration challenge.