France 24: French President Emmanuel Macron came out Saturday in support of financial sanctions against EU countries which refuse to accept migrants.
“We can not have countries that benefit hugely from EU solidarity and claim national self-interest when it comes to the issue of migrants,” he said at a press conference in Paris alongside Spain’s new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
“I am in favour of sanctions being imposed in the event of no cooperation,” he said.
On the eve of a mini-summit about the divisive migration issue, the two leaders also declared support for the creation of closed reception centres where migrants would be held while their asylum claims are considered.
Macron’s comments drew a scathing response from Italy’s new populist government. Far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini denounced Macron’s “arrogance” over the migrant issue. “Six-hundred-and-fifty thousand landings in four years, 430,000 applications…, 170,000 apparent refugees currently housed in hotels, buildings and apartments at a cost exceeding five billion euros,” Salvini said on Saturday.
In the meantime Austria has threatened to reinstate border checks if Germany resorts to turning away migrants at its southern frontier, as EU leaders prepare to gather in Brussels on Sunday for a “mini summit” to address the spiraling migration crisis.
Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian Chancellor, said he “would be ready and do everything necessary to protect our borders” if Germany’s hardline interior minister Horst Seehofer pushed ahead with the plan.
“That would mean securing the border on the Brenner [Pass] and other locations…[but] I want to help ensure it doesn’t get that far,” he added.