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Immigration – the contentious issue during the summit

Immigration – the contentious issue during the summit

Despite happy statements when EU countries’ immigration ministers agreed a few weeks ago on important parts of the migration package, the issue once again took center stage during this week’s EU summit.

– Two countries, Poland and Hungary, have said that because of the way decisions on the migration agreement are taken by qualified majorities, they cannot support outcomes on migration, the European Council president said after the meeting.

Hungary and Poland tried to include a message in the meeting’s conclusions that decisions on immigration should be taken by consensus, and not by a qualified majority as was the case. This is in an effort to rip up the Migration Charter Agreement. After a lengthy discussion that lasted into Thursday night, the leaders decided not to include any document on migration at all in the outcome of the meeting, as all heads of state and government must agree on the text. Instead, European Council President Charles Michel published his own book conclusions about migration.

Green light to suggest Russian assets

Otherwise, there was little agreement on most of the summit agenda. Among other things, the leaders agreed to give the green light to the European Commission to develop a proposal on how frozen assets from the Russian Central Bank could be used to rebuild Ukraine. It is an issue that many leaders have classified as complex from a legal point of view, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stressed the need to work on this issue with caution.

The European Council president also stressed that recent developments in Russia mean that developments in Belarus, where the leader of the Wagner paramilitary group the other members have gone, must be watched closely.

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A consensus view on China

The relationship with China was also on the agenda and according to Ursula von der Leyen, the countries agreed that one needed to manage the risks of dependence on China, but without severing the relationship with the country. Regarding problems with today’s relationship, she noted, among other things, that the EU’s trade deficit with China has almost tripled in the past ten years.

– said the chairman of the commission, this is simply unsustainable.

Finally, both Charles Michell and Ursula von der Leyen paid tribute to the Swedish presidency, emphasizing the large number of political agreements and laws made during Sweden’s presidency.

– These are amazing results, said von der Leyen.