EU states try to seal migration deal

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BRUSSELS – Envoys of the European Union’s 27 member states were meeting in Brussels on Wednesday hoping to overcome a latest spat between Rome and Berlin over charity ships to finalise an agreement on sharing out the task of caring for refugees and migrants.

Envoys were meeting at 0730 GMT on an amended text of the tentative agreement proposed by Spain, which chairs EU talks until the end of the year, sources said.

The meeting is the last chance to seal a deal before the bloc’s 27 national leaders meet in Spain’s Granada on Thursday and Friday, where they are due to discuss irregular migration amid increased arrivals across the Mediterranean, including to the Italian island of Lampedusa.

A dispute over NGOs picking up people in the sea prevented an deal among the EU’s migration ministers last week but the bloc is still keen to get it done ahead of key elections in Germany, Poland and a pan-European parliamentary vote in 2024.

Countries like Poland and Hungary remain staunchly opposed to hosting any people arriving from the Middle East and Africa but the 27 can still get a majority agreement that the two alone cannot block. REUTERS

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