Merkel's CSU allies to gauge European Union migrant deal on July 1

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For EU member states, trying to find a common solution to irregular migration has exposed the fault lines that divide the bloc.

A draft European Union statement on immigration will be withdrawn following a "misunderstanding" over the text, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday after talking to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the meeting involves "talking with particularly affected nations about all problems connected with migration". After an inconclusive election in September, it took Merkel months to form a coalition and secure a fourth term.

Referring to hasty arrangements and a domestic crisis over migration policies within Germany's coalition government, the fervently anti-migrant Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, said: "We understand that countries have domestic political difficulties, but this can't result in pan-European confusion".

At the heart of the problem lie deep divisions over who should take responsibility for arriving migrants - often Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece and increasingly Spain - how long they should be required to accommodate them, and what should be done to help those European Union countries hardest hit.

Asked whether she expects her governing coalition to stay together, she replied: "I am working so that the coalition can fulfill the tasks it set itself in the coalition agreement, and we have plenty to do; we have achieved some things already".

"But we will always have legitimate asylum seekers who are entitled to our help".

Conte had threatened not to attend a gathering of European leaders in Brussels on Sunday to protest against the draft, which, amongst other things, called for asylum seekers to be immediately returned to the EU country they first entered - often Italy.

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Migration has decided elections across the bloc from Italy to Hungary, with voters favoring those taking a tougher stance.

Though arrivals across the Mediterranean are only a fraction of what they were in 2015, when more than a million people reached Europe, a recent opinion poll showed migration was the top concern for the EU's 500 million citizens.

The bloc has been unable to break that deadlock, with bad blood spilling over to other areas of cooperation, including crucial talks on the EU's next seven-year budget from 2021.

But with fears of new migrant surges in the future, diplomats warn the asylum reform impasse could destroy the EU's signature Schengen system of borderless travel.

The Bavarian conservatives - the CSU - are longtime allies of Merkel's conservatives - the CDU.

The Sunday talks are unlikely to produce new solutions and the European Union will go on pushing to curb arrivals even though working with countries from where numerous migrants set out on their journey, like Tunisia or Niger is complicated, slow and costly.

He expressed optimism that Merkel would manage to seal deals with European partner countries to take back refugees.

A week ago, Spain took in 630 migrants from the French aid ship Aquarius after Malta and Italy, which were closer, refused to grant the ship access to their ports.



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