The Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday that Italy agreed to participate on Sunday’s mini-conference on migration, after Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to shelve a German policy proposal.
Italy has drawn a red policy line on readmission policy, making clear that Rome will not accept migrants being sent back to Italy. The German plan is said to have placed an emphasis on observing Dublin II rules, including the rule stipulating that asylum applications must be processed at the country of entry.
Interior Minister and far-right leader Matteo Salvini suggested the cost of “saving the cost” of travelling to the summit on Sunday, if Germany had already produced a draft proposal.
Conte said on Thursday that he received assurances the German proposal would be binned. The Italian prime minister said the Chancellor was willing to set aside the policy proposal as Conte had made clear he would not be going to the summit otherwise.
Conte told the President of the European Council Donald Tusk on Wednesday that Italy is unwilling to negotiate readmissions, as Italy is exposed to primary migrant flows and is already home to 700,000 refugees.
The EU migration summit on Sunday is no longer expected to reach a written conclusion but merely a joint statement on issues discussed.
Despite the apparent disagreement, member states appear to be in consensus over the need of asylum processing centres outside the EU. That includes Germany, Italy and France.
Italy is spearheading the calls for so-called “protection centres” for asylum seekers in countries of origin and transit states, disrupting the flow to Europe. Italy also wants special measures against traffic networks.
Throughout Thursday Milan’s stock exchange saw stock valuations drop and the spread of sovereign debt for Italian 10-year bonds surged to 238 basis points, up from 216 on Wednesday. According to the public news agency, ANSA, investors are said to be concerned about tension between Italy and the EU ahead of an informal meeting of several EU States on migration on Sunday.