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GETTYItaly's prime minister Conte issued an ultimatum to the EU on immigration

GETTYItaly's prime minister Conte issued an ultimatum to the EU on immigration

Italy has recently refused to let several migrant rescue boats dock at its ports, demanding that the responsibility for people arriving across the Mediterranean should be shared between other countries.

Following nine hours of often stormy talks, EU leaders agreed on a range of measures, including the new concept of "regional disembarkation platforms" outside the European Union, where asylum requests would be assessed before claimants get to Europe.

Migrants already in the European Union, which include 160,000 in Greece and Italy, will be sent to secure "hotspot" processing centers in other European Union countries, but "only on a voluntary basis". Instead EU leaders have chosen to pander to xenophobic governments who are hellbent on keeping Europe closed, and to push even more responsibility onto countries outside the EU.

"We can not leave those countries where asylum seekers arrive to deal with (the problem) alone", German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, even as she faces inordinate pressure in her country to impose restrictions on the influx of immigrants.

In a final statement full of convoluted language created to appease the divergent views, the leaders agreed to restrict migrant moves within the bloc but made clear virtually all of their pledges would be carried out on a "voluntary basis" by member states.

The issue has assumed greater political significance in Europe because of the threat to Mrs Merkel's position over her approach to letting migrants settle in her country.

On that voluntary basis, European Union nations agreed to share the refugee burden by creating "controlled centers" inside the European Union to process requests, according to Reuters. In 2015, more than a million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe.

The summit which is expected to end today by noon, was called the "mother of all summits", in particular because of the potential impact on the political future of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is wrestling to preserve her fragile government at home.

European Council President Donald Tusk gives a joint press conference with the President of the European Commission and Bulgaria's Prime Minister on the final day of the European Council leaders' summit on June 29, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

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This is nearly six times less than in 2016 over the same period, following a peak in arrivals in 2015, and approximately 30 percent of those arriving on European shores needed worldwide protection.

EU President Donald Tusk issued a fresh warning on the need for action on migration to stave off rising populism and authoritarianism, saying that "the stakes are high and time is short".

Migrants deemed eligible for worldwide protection would be distributed among member states that voluntarily offer to take them in.

Her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, had signaled that he would block asylum seekers at the Bavarian border if the chancellor couldn't strike some kind of immigration deal.

"It's possible to begin a turnaround in migration today", said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who took power a year ago in a coalition with a far-right party on an anti-immigration platform.

"Europe is really rolling the dice", said Jill Goldenziel, an associate professor at the Marine Corps University, who is writing a book on the global migration crisis.

"We will welcome any outcome that leads to a more collaborative and harmonised approach to asylum, also one that has at its core and priority saving lives at sea", said Charlie Yaxley of the refugee agency UNHCR.

"We took the view that we needed to have a degree of burden-sharing and the transfer of migrants to countries".

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