The united front that European Union leaders claim in Brexit talks cracked at the bloc’s last summit of the year with heads of state and government clashing openly on migration and admitting to divisions on how to move the monetary union forward.
Even before the two-day gathering began in Brussels on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed to fellow leaders at loggerheads over how to cope with migrants from across the Mediterranean. “We don’t just need solidarity on controlling and steering migration on our external borders,” Merkel told reporters on her arrival. “We also need internal solidarity. There cannot be selective solidarity among EU members.”
Donald Tusk, European Council President, warned of divisions on his way into the summit. “Today and tomorrow we will also deal with issues where a lack of unity is very visible and as you know I am talking about the European monetary union and migration,” he said.
Divisions on migration between frontline countries like Italy that feel abandoned by the rest of the bloc, and central and eastern nations especially, have resurfaced after Tusk branded mandatory resettlement quotas for migrants “ineffective” in a note sent to leaders.