‘Future of EU does not depend on migration summit,’ says Dutch prime minister

Rutte arrives at the meeting. Photo: AP Photo/Olivier Matthys

Europe is not ready for a new stream of migrants in line with the number of arrivals in 2015, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday, ahead of the start of the two-day EU summit on migration issues in Brussels.

Despite the build-up to the meeting, Rutte refused to describe it as ‘the mother of all summits’ on which the future of the EU depends, as some commentators have suggested.

‘This is an important summit and we have a serious problem in Europe – a political problem,’ he said. The number of people arriving in Europe is much lower than a few years ago but there are ‘big political questions in Italy, in Germany, in the EU as a whole’, the Dutch prime minister said.

‘We are not ready if the number [of migrants] starts increasing again, so in that sense it is a very important summit. It would be good if this evening we can bring about a sense of calm. But I don’t expect a total solution which means we will never have to talk about migration again,’ Rutte said.

‘What could be done at the meeting is to make agreements about the first stream of people coming from Africa and about how Europe can cope with them,’ Rutte told broadcaster NOS.

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