Macron proposes migrant centers in Europe to assess cases

Frank-Walter Steinmeier

"Six-hundred-and-fifty thousand landings in four years, 430,000 applications., 170,000 apparent refugees now housed in hotels, buildings and apartments at a cost exceeding five billion euros".

The group also tweeted that it had carried out another rescue overnight, though details of how many migrants were accepted- and by which ship - have yet to be released.

"The Lifeline, an illegal ship with 239 immigrants on board is in Maltese waters", Salvini wrote on Facebook.

He said: "I am for myself in favour of mechanisms that indeed take this into account".

Just two days before a mini summit on the issue in Brussels, it dug its heels in on campaign promises to stop the influx of migrants, threatening to seize rescue ships or barring them from its ports.

"My response is that the interior minister recently presented statistics on crime and they speak for themselves", she said during a press conference after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called for confronting what she described as Iran's "aggressive" policies in the region.

Italy's new right-wing government has taken a harder stance on rescue ships bringing large numbers of migrants to Italy, which is often the nearest port for those rescued off coast of Libya. The move was echoed by nearby Malta and the ship was later welcomed by Spain.

Italy has refused it entry, saying Lifeline had acted improperly by taking on board migrants who the Italian coast guard had assigned to the Libyan coast guard.

Meanwhile, the Franco-German-Italian NGO that runs the Aquarius called on European Union governments to allow people rescued at sea to be brought a safe port.

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The centers would be created in accordance with guidelines from the UN's refugee agency UNHCR, Macron said.

According to the Italian media the national coastguard sent a message to rescue boats operating in the Mediterranean advising them that Italy would no longer be their first point of reference.

Macron and Sanchez both stressed the need for a humanitarian but responsible approach to migration.

Arriving for a meeting of CSU leaders in Munich yesterday, Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder said the CSU wanted to back the "masterplan" to limit immigration at the border, but would leave it up to Seehofer to decide how to implement the measure.

"Extremists play on emotions to propose the worst" solutions, he added.

"We know that no solution will be reached on Thursday and Friday at the level of the 28 member states. on the overall issue of migration", she said on a visit to Lebanon.

Christian Lindner, head of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), said that "after 100 days of grand coalition, we can not criticize any of their major plans, because there are none".

On Monday, CSU's leader and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he would wait for the outcome of Merkel's talks with European Union partners until end of June and from July 1 he will start implementing stricter measures at Germany's national borders.

Italian authorities said the Lifeline and Seefuchs, operated by the German migrant rescue group Mission Lifeline, were "illegally" flying the Dutch flag.

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