Arguments and disagreements dominated the migration discussion at the EU summit in Brussels late on Thursday, according to sources.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi reportedly lashed out at eastern European leaders who are not keen on the migrant relocation proposal. 

So far the first implementation package proposes the emergency relocation of 40,000 persons in clear need of international protection from Italy and Greece.

"If you do not agree with the figure of 40,000 (asylum seekers) you do not deserve to call yourself Europeans," Renzi told the EU summit in Brussels. "If this is your idea of Europe, you can keep it. Either there's solidarity or don't waste our time."

Much of the tension appeared to be about ensuring that the migration plan was voluntary, not mandatory as the European Commission had initially suggested.

Italy estimates some 60,000 people have made it across the Mediterranean so far this year. Almost 2,000 have died in the attempt.

Meanwhile, EU President Donald Tusk said that containing illegal migration should be the “priority" of EU leaders at their summit meeting today and tomorrow.

"Today I expect the EU Council to send a strong message to all those who are not legitimate asylum seekers that they will have no guarantee that they will stay in Europe. Only with this message can we make real progress on the Italy and Greece relocation,” Mr Tusk said.

Brussels is trying to spread the burden of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing poverty and war in Africa and the Middle East by going to Europe. Governments across the continent, from Italy to Greece to Hungary, say the system for tackling migration is broken.

But Mr Tusk made it clear that as much as the EU was willing to help those who deserve protection, it would be adopting a hard line towards economic migrants who did not.

An early draft of the conclusions from the EU leaders’ summit published by the civil liberties group Statewatch includes a pledge to set up centres to fingerprint and register migrants, with more powers to the EU border agency Frontex to deport people.

Mr Tusk said that while there was no consensus by EU states on mandatory quotas for migrants, one could not do nothing.   

"Solidarity without a sacrifice is pure hypocrisy. We only need deeds and numbers,” he told reporters. 

Meanwhile, there are unlikely to be any changes to the contested Dublin regulation for the time being. Under EU rules, migrants must apply for asylum in the first member state they enter. If they move on to another EU country, they can be sent back to the country where they entered.

During a news briefing, EU officials did not rule out any changes to the Dublin regulation but said any changes would take a long time.


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