France favours financial sanctions for EU states refusing asylum migrants
PARIS (Reuters) - France favours financial sanctions for European Union countries that refuse migrants with proven asylum status, President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday, deepening the divide between union members over the migrant crisis. EU leaders will hold an emergency meeting on Sunday in Brussels to discuss disputes over migration with the aim to prepare the ground for a formal EU summit at the end of next week. 'I am for myself in favour of mechanisms that indeed take this into account,' Macron said when asked about his views on possible financial sanctions
PARIS (Reuters) - France favours financial sanctions for European Union countries that refuse migrants with proven asylum status, President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday, deepening the divide between union members over the migrant crisis.
EU leaders will hold an emergency meeting on Sunday in Brussels to discuss disputes over migration with the aim to prepare the ground for a formal EU summit at the end of next week.
"I am for myself in favour of mechanisms that indeed take this into account," Macron said when asked about his views on possible financial sanctions.
"You can't have countries that massively benefit from the solidarity of the European Union and that massively voice their national selfishness when it comes to migrant issues," he added, in a clear hint to Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, which oppose the EU relocation scheme for asylum seekers.
The fate of the Aquarius rescue ship and its more than 600 migrants sparked a heated debate this month over EU states' responsibilities towards asylum seekers.
Italy and Malta refused to take in the ship which was stranded at sea for days before being offered safe haven in Spain. On Saturday, another migrant rescue ship, the MV Lifeline, was waiting in the Mediterranean having been refused harbour by Italy and Malta.
SHARE OF ASYLUM SEEKERS
The French president suggested that additional conditions should be attached to the granting of the EU's structural funds to guarantee the recipients take their share of asylum migrants.
He made the comments after his first meeting with the new Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, at the Elysee palace. Both leaders agreed that additional detention centres should be opened in Europe to review asylum seekers' applications.
This would come on top of so-called "disembarkation platforms" outside the EU where asylum requests could be assessed before claimants reach Europe.
"What we're proposing is to have Europe-funded detention centres in the closest and safest country (from the source of the refugee flows)," Macron said.
"And from these European detention centres... teams should take the people who did not win asylum status back to the country they came from," he added.
Madrid, Berlin and other European capitals support this initiative, a diplomatic source told Reuters.
Migrants seeking to reach Europe were picked up in their hundreds in the Mediterranean on Friday and Saturday.
Spanish authorities said they had rescued nearly 600 migrants trying to make the perilous crossing from Africa, while off the coast of Libya coastguards recovered bodies of five migrants and picked up 210 survivors, the coastguard said.
The container ship Alexander Maersk picked up 113 migrants from a boat off southern Italy on Friday, the ship owner said. The ship was waiting south of Sicily awaiting further instructions from the authorities.
(Reporting by Marine Pennetier and Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Edmund Blair and Ros Russell)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.