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EU Leaders Agree on Joint Asylum Centers, Restriction of Migrants’ Moves in Bloc

© REUTERS / MOAS/Jason Florio/Handout via ReutersMigrants crowd the deck of their wooden boat off the coast of Libya May 14, 2015
Migrants crowd the deck of their wooden boat off the coast of Libya May 14, 2015 - Sputnik International
President of the European Council Donald Tusk has confirmed that the leaders of the European Union reached an agreement on migration after nine-hour EU summit talks.

According to a final statement made after 9 hours of talks, the leaders agreed to enhance screening migrants for asylum eligibility and set up "disembarkation platforms” in North Africa to discourage those fleeing to Europe from boarding smuggling boats. 

The plan also stipulates the establishment of joint processing camps within the bloc and to restrict their movement across member-states. 

READ MORE: Italy Blocks Adoption of EU Summit Documents Over Discord on Migration Issues

The EU leaders said the agreement would boost the bloc’s external borders and enhance the solidarity among member nations to ease the pressure.

"We have a European solution and a work on cooperation," said French President Emmanuel Macron, adding that the decision will “better organize” reception of migrants in the EU.

Italy, who long held up any interim agreements at the summit unless it received concrete commitments the country would receive help in managing the waves of newcomers arriving from across the Mediterranean.

"Today Italy is no longer alone. We are satisfied," Conte said.

Italian Interior Minister and leader of the Lega party Matteo Salvini, who is known for his strong anti-immigrant position, echoed these words, stating that Italy defended its stance at the ongoing summit.

"I am pleased and proud of the results of our government in Brussels… Finally, Europe was forced to accept the discussion on an Italian proposal… Many of our requests have been accepted, on others, there is still work to do but finally Italy has emerged from isolation," Salvini said.

'Good Message'

Pressured at home over migration and facing a possible collapse of the ruling coalition amid the migrant row, Merkel praised the adoption of the joint statement at the summit.

"After intensive discussion on what is perhaps the most challenging issue for the European Union, it is a good message that we have adopted a joint text."

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Following the announcement, a senior lawmaker from Christian Social Union in Bavaria, Hans Michelbach, endorsed the deal, saying that "something has started to move in the right direction" in Europe, adding that the alliance with Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democrats has "absolute priority."

Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz reported that the leaders of the union agreed that Italy and Greece can set up migrant centers on their soil if they want to.

"I can confirm that countries like Italy or Greece can set up closed centers on the border if they want. There is still no agreement on binding quotas," he told reporters in Brussels after an EU migration deal was announced.

Kurz added he was glad that the talks had led to an agreement on "secure zones" outside the European Union as well as clear guidelines for charities helping migrants in the Mediterranean.

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the lengthy talks in Brussels had led to important decisions, including "taking more action upstream in the countries of origin" to ensure that people do not embark on dangerous trips across the Mediterranean in search of asylum in Europe.

She also noted that she expected Britain’s future security partnership with the European Union to be strong and deep. "I want to see a strong and deep security partnership continuing with our European Union partners. We will be setting that out in more detail in the White Paper we will be publishing shortly," she told reporters.

Meanwhile, Euro/Dollar exchange rate has risen 0.4 after it has been announced that the European leaders had reached a deal.

READ MORE: Kurz Becomes European 'Rock Star' as Merkel Loses Points on Migration Issue

Earlier, the European Council confirmed that the summit failed to agree on the final statement as Italy had temporarily blocked the adoption of the documents of the EU summit, insisting on the coordination of migration issues.

The two-day European Council began on Thursday and is focused on migration.

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