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BRUSSELS, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - The European Union will agree next week to look into creating disembarkation platforms in north Africa and elsewhere to decide asylum requests before claimants get to Europe, a draft statement ahead of an EU summit showed.

European capitals from Rome to Budapest have called for such centres as the bloc has struggled since 2015 to deal with higher immigration, but concerns that processing people outside EU borders could violate the law have so far prevented such moves.

Now, however, Italy's new anti-establishment government has demanded that Europe does more to help it handle refugees and migrants arriving from across the Mediterranean.

"Such platforms should provide for rapid processing to distinguish between economic migrants and those in need of international protection, and reduce the incentive to embark on perilous journeys," the draft statement of EU leaders said.

The document, whose wording might still change, is not public but was seen by Reuters before the June 28-29 EU summit, where all 28 EU leaders will lock horns again over migration, an issue that has bitterly divided them.

Though arrival numbers have long been decreasing and are now low, migration has shot back to the top of Europe's political agenda also because German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partner issued an ultimatum for an EU-wide deal on migration.

Otherwise, Berlin would introduce right after the summit a unilateral ban on refugees already registered in other EU states, said the junior governing Christian Social Union, which holds the interior ministry.

The EU border agency Frontex said more than 90 percent of those arriving in Italy, Greece and Spain register for asylum there. But they still often go north, including to Germany.

That phenomenon, known as "secondary movements", is against EU law but has been widespread since 2015, the peak of Europe's migration crisis.

"Secondary movements of asylum seekers between Member States put the integrity of the Asylum System severely at risk. Member States should take all necessary internal legislative and administrative measures to counter such movements and to closely cooperate amongst each other to this end," the text said in an indirect response to German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

The text is aimed at helping Rome and Berlin agree on migration at the summit.

As the bloc struggled to find a compromise on reforming its internal asylum rules - which broke down under 2015 arrivals - it has instead looked to tighten its borders and prevent people reaching its shores in the first place.

The EU has given aid and money to countries from Turkey and Jordan to Libya and Niger.

 

WARSAW, Poland, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - Poland's prime minister says Tuesday that he sees a "middleman" role for his government in mending ties between President Donald Trump's administration and the European Union - despite Poland's tense relations with the bloc.

Mateusz Morawiecki spoke in Berlin Tuesday following talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that featured European and global security as well as trans-Atlantic ties that have been strained by Trump's protectionist policies.

Morawiecki said that Poland "would like to serve as coordinator, a middleman between the US and Europe, in the best sense" and help ease the tension.

He said that Poland and Germany can be allies in "stopping the trade war spiral, the mutual aversion," with the US, which is Europe's main security partner.

Poland is among Europe's closest allies of the Trump administration.

 

BRUSSELS, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - The EU’s second highest court on Tuesday upheld a decision by the European Parliament to recover €300,000 from far-right politician and former French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.

Le Pen, also a member of the European Parliament between 2009 and 2017, had been ordered to pay after Parliament found she had unduly claimed the sum for a parliamentary assistant. Le Pen had taken the case to the EU Court.

“By today’s judgment, the Court dismisses Ms Le Pen’s action and confirms the Parliament’s recovery decision,” the General Court, the EU’s second-highest, said.

Le Pen can still appeal the decision on points of law to the EU Court of Justice, the EU’s top court.

CAIRO, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - Libya's coast guard says it has recovered the bodies of five migrants and rescued 186 others, including women and children, in separate operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

Navy spokesman Ayoub Jassem says the migrants, who were found Monday, were taken to a navy base in the capital, Tripoli, and a refugee camp in the town of Tawergha.

Libya was plunged into chaos following a 2011 uprising. Since then, Libya has been a frequently used route to Europe for migrants fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East.

Libya has worked to stem the flow of migrants, with assistance from the European Union.

RAMALLAH, June 11, 2018 (MENA) - The European Union made a contribution of €15 million to the Palestinian Authority payment of social allowances to poor families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

It will contribute to payments made to around 65,839 families of which 80% live in the Gaza Strip, European External Action Service said in a statement on Monday.

The EU's support to the Palestinian Authority cash transfer programme is a commitment to the welfare of vulnerable families in the West Bank and Gaza.

The EU supports the Ministry of Social Development in serving a total of 110,000 vulnerable families through an inclusive and equitable social protection system.

"The EU is making its contribution to Palestinian families in need to be able to provide for their rightful basic human needs," said the EU Representative Ralph Tarraf.

"We believe that supporting vulnerable families in Palestine is fundamental to creating a strong and effective social protection system that leaves no one behind," he added.


 

RAMALLAH, June 11,2018 (MENA) - The European Union made a contribution of €15 million to the Palestinian Authority payment of social allowances to poor families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 

It will contribute to payments made to around 65,839 families of which 80% live in the Gaza Strip, European External Action Service said in a statement on Monday. 

The EU's support to the Palestinian Authority cash transfer programme is a commitment to the welfare of vulnerable families in the West Bank and Gaza. The EU supports the Ministry of Social Development in serving a total of 110,000 vulnerable families through an inclusive and equitable social protection system.

"The EU is making its contribution to Palestinian families in need to be able to provide for their rightful basic human needs," said the EU Representative Ralph Tarraf.

"We believe that supporting vulnerable families in Palestine is fundamental to creating a strong and effective social protection system that leaves no one behind," he added. 

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