European leaders met in Salzburg, Austria, earlier this week for a meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz who is currently at the helm of the European Union. The leaders called for an EU-Arab summit on migration. “Tonight I will ask for support for our efforts to intensify cooperation with North African countries and the idea of calling an EU-League of Arab States summit in Egypt in February next year,” announced Donald Tusk in Salzburg.
The Austrian Chancellor said that an extension to the Frontex mandate was key to finding a solution to the migration crisis. “This is to be done together with transit countries. In that respect, it is important to talk to North African countries and Egypt”, Mr. Tusk said. Both EU leaders emphasized that the number of migrant arrivals has dropped drastically in the past months. “In Italy, the number of migrants fell by 80% compared to last year,” Sebastian Kurz said and also stressed that “the direction we set last June is the right one. We now have to be consequent and implement it.”
Donald Tusk urged European leaders to stop the migration blame game. “Despite the aggressive rhetoric, things are moving in the right direction, mostly because we have been focused on external border control and cooperation with third countries, which have brought down the number of irregular migrants from almost 2 millions in 2015 to fewer than 100 000 this year,” he said. The fight against illegal migration is number one priority of the Austrian presidency. The other two include securing prosperity and competitiveness through digitalization and stability in the European neighborhood.