French President Macron and European Union leaders hold summit in Luxembourg
By: Pam Collins, Xiro Xone News September 7, 2018 Updated: 8:59 AM PT
Amid the European political season, prime ministers Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg, Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, and Charles Michel of Belgium met with French President Emmanuel Macron for a summit on an array of issues affecting their countries, including Brexit.
During a news conference, President Macron said, “Countries that are the main point of entry for migrants seeking refuge from a war torn country or asylum, have a responsibility, that cannot be avoided.”
Seeking support for reforming the European Union, he spoke of the need for solidarity when he said, “European solidarity is needed to provide financial aid to point of entry countries and help send back those who do not qualify for asylum to their countries of origin.”
He also chastised countries that refused to lend basic humanitarian help to migrants who are, rescued at sea. At the top of that list is, Italy, and its anti-European government. They have repeatedly refused to receive migrants who were rescued at sea. Italy's far-right Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, and Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary called President Macron an adversary, when it comes to migrant issues. Macron admitted they were correct.
Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands said, “One topic at the top of the agenda is migration. It’s important that we take further steps based on the agreements we made back in June. Three elements are essential: tackling the root causes of migration, agreeing on how to deal with migrants rescued in the Mediterranean and working to reform the Common European Asylum System. It won’t be easy to find a unified approach, but ultimately we all need to take responsibility in each of these different areas.”
After meeting with the prime ministers, President Macron is scheduled to meet with another ally and friend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in Marseille. Under Chancellor Merkel, Germany has received thousands, and committed to receiving more. After close to a million migrants entered the country back in 2015, she has been under pressure from one of her biggest critics, Germany's interior minister Horst Seehofer, who said, “The issue of migration is the mother of all political problems in this country." Confronted with problems created by the rise of German far-right parties like the anti-immigrant, AfD party, Merkel had to pull back on her aggressive immigration policies, in an effort to hang onto power.
At a time when Brexit, security, trade, and immigration may have an unpredictable impact for these countries, expectations run high for the upcoming meeting in Marseille between, Chancellor Merkel and President Macron.
The two leaders are due to meet on September 20th in Salzburg, Austria, in the hope of resolving issues that are, important to all.