Fourteen EU members agree on new scheme to allocate migrants

Italy's Interior minister Matteo Salvini did not take part in Paris meeting

Photo: EPA Sub-Saharan migrants arrive to the port of Motril after being rescued near Alboran Island in Granada, Spain, 22 July.

Fourteen EU member countries have agreed to a new "solidarity mechanism" proposed by Germany and France to allocate migrants across the bloc, French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday. He spoke after the meeting of 14 country's Foreign affairs and Interior ministers earlier in Paris.

"The conclusion of this morning's meeting is that, in principle, 14 member states, at this stage, have expressed their agreement with the Franco-German document," Macron told journalists. He did not spell out specifics but said the new initiative would be "quick" and "automatic".

A source close to the French presidency told Reuters that in addition to France and Germany, Finland, Luxemburg, Portugal, Lithuania, Croatia and Ireland had also signalled a clear intention to move forward with a new system. Italy's Interior minister Matteo Salvini, whose country is at the forefront of the migrant influx in Europe, did not take part in the meeting. In a letter to his French counterpart Christophe Castaner, Salvini warned of the effect of decisions "solely taken in Paris and Berlin."

Macron also said France had asked the Libyan government to ensure migrants would no longer be placed in custody in the country and that appropriate measures would be taken to ensure their safety.

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