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Oliver Q

Merkel at risk as EU leaders meet for immigration summit


A 22-year-old Eritrean man who was rescued in the Mediterranean sea off Libya coast in March.

A European Union summit long planned to focus on the bloc’s patchy asylum policies has assumed unexpected urgency, as a political crisis threatens German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government and Italy refuses to admit migrants rescued at sea. EU leaders gathering in Brussels on Thursday and Friday for their quarterly meeting are grappling with the political impact of people attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Africa. The issue is sparking renewed controversy even though arrivals in the first five months of this year were 77% lower than in the same period last year, according to EU data. The leaders are expected to agree in principle on creating so-called “disembarkation areas” in African countries along the Mediterranean coast, to which most migrants rescued at sea would be sent. The idea gathered support from half of the bloc’s leaders at a preparatory migration summit on Sunday.

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