European Union interior ministers meeting in Finland on Thursday failed to strike a stopgap deal to address ongoing disagreements about the bloc’s migration policies, particularly issues of who should take responsibility for new arrivals.
There were “very different opinions,” French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said, with some ministers refusing to allow more refugees into their country, others appealing for solidarity, and many expressing concern about enticing more migrants to attempt the journey.
But EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos played down disagreements at the summit.
“Last night it was not a decision-making event,” Avramopoulos said. “We had a brainstorming; as I said, it was very animated.”
France’s Castaner said he is planning to host a meeting in Paris next week with around 15 of the EU’s 28 member states.
Germany and France have sought to form an alliance of 10 or so countries for distributing refugees, with Italy still taking in some migrants. Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, however, has categorically rejected this plan.
A 2015 plan to redistribute more than 100,000 asylum seekers from frontline countries, such as Greece and Italy, to other EU member states has proved inconsequential with only a few hundred refugees being relocated under the deal.