Migrants rest on a roadside as they walk to the town of Mytilene hours after arriving by boat from Turkey in the northern part of the island of Lesbos, Greece (Photographer: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg)

France, Italy, Malta Near Agreement on Text on Migrant Centers

(Bloomberg) -- European Union members including front-line Mediterranean states as well as Germany, France and the Netherlands have agreed on a common text calling for the setting up of “controlled centers” that would screen migrants arriving by sea and send home those without a chance of qualifying for asylum status, European officials say.

France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Malta and the Netherlands agreed on the text at an EU summit in Brussels, with Austria indicating it will back it, a French official said. Germany has also agreed, according to another official. Discussions are ongoing, and other EU members may yet block any agreement, a third official said.

The text calls for genuine asylum seekers to be shared out within EU. Italy has agreed to the text but hasn’t pledged to accept centers on its territory, the French official said. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte earlier threatened to veto the summit conclusions without progress on the migration issue.

“With Giuseppe Conte, we are working together to find a European agreement on the sharing of refugees,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a tweet.

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