EU leaders seek compromise over immigration as arrivals increase
European Union leaders made a fresh effort on Friday to overcome their differences on how to handle immigrants, but disagreed on the best way forward, with the head of the bloc's executive saying there would be no EU funds for 'barbed wire and walls', Reuters reports.
While total immigration numbers are low compared to the bloc's population of some 450 million people, the issue feeds support for nationalist and populist groups across the EU, making it hard to reach a compromise among its 27 members.
"Recent months have shown that the pressure of migration is not letting up. It's actually rising again," said Austria's new chancellor, Alexander Schallenberg.
A tightening of the bloc's external borders was essential, he said, endorsing Lithuania's call for EU financing for hard border infrastructure such as drones or fences.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen signalled opposition to this demand.
"I was very clear that there is a longstanding view in the European Commission and in the European Parliament that there will be no funding of barbed wire and walls," she said.