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Italy Demands EU Do More on Migration Crisis
Italy has blocked the adoption of any agreements at the European Union summit in Brussels, demanding that the bloc do more to help Rome's migration crisis.
Italy's month-old populist government refused to sign any joint agreements, instead holding out for action by other European countries to help deal with the migrants and refugees coming to Italy from North Africa.
"Italy doesn't need any more verbal signs, but concrete deeds,'' Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said.
Summit participants are planning to set up screening facilities in North African countries to slow the stream of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to get to the EU, often through Italy. While no countries have as yet agreed to host such screening posts, EU leaders hope to entice them with aid money.
Arrivals to the continent have dropped sharply since a 2015 crisis that drew sharp divisions among the bloc's 28 members about how they should respond. Some countries promoted more open-door policies, while others set up barriers to prevent those who reached Europe from crossing their borders.
The EU said in 2015 there were more than 1.8 million illegal border crossings into member countries. EU President Donald Tusk wrote in a letter ahead of the summit the number of illegal crossings has dropped by 96 percent since its peak.