Macron proposes migrant centers to assess each case

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron announced a proposal Saturday that would create closed migrant centers on European soil so authorities can quickly decide whether arriving migrants are eligible to apply for asylum and send back those who don’t qualify.

European countries would take in migrants who qualify to apply in a shared plan that lifts the burden of carrying for them from the Mediterranean nations on the front line such as Italy, Spain and Greece, Macron said.

The French leader spoke at a news conference in Paris with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who was on his first foreign trip since taking office on June 2. Macron and Sanchez both stressed the need for a humanitarian but responsible approach to migration.

Spain’s decision last week to take in a rescue ship with 630 migrants, and France’s offer to accept some of those eligible to apply for asylum, exemplifies the need to share the burden, they both said.

The visit by Sanchez came a day before 16 EU leaders meet informally in Brussels to try to find a common approach to the divisive issue of migration before an EU summit next week. A group of EU countries with governments firmly opposed to migration wants a go-it-alone approach.

“National solutions don’t work,” Macron said, referring to Hungary and Italy, who have an anti-migrant approach. “We are interdependent.”

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