Rishi Sunak sparks furious row with Spain over migrants move at EU summit
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The Prime Minister has sparked a diplomatic row with Spain after the UK demanded that a European summit next week abandon its current agenda in favour of crucial discussions about illegal migration.
Rishi Sunak wants the forthcoming European Political Community summit to make the issue its top priority, and scrap the currently planned discussions about AI.
Madrid is resisting the demand, insisting on the current agenda of Artificial Intelligence, Ukraine and graduate mobility.
France has now been forced to intervene as a mediator.
Mr Sunak has now been accused of having “caused havoc”, with one diplomatic source saying the British “want to overhaul the entire agenda and replace it with migration, which is not planned today”.
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“They are taking advantage of what’s happened in the Mediterranean to try and impose their own agenda on the Channel.”
A second source told the Telegraph that British efforts are “not going anywhere”.
However European leaders have echoed Rishi Sunak’s demands for more action on illegal migration, including European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
Ms Von Der Leyen said earlier this month: “Migration is a European challenge that requires a European solution”.
The right wing leader of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, has also warned leaders that they need a “paradigm change” to cope with the huge numbers entering her country via the sea from Africa.
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Spain, who get fewer migrants arriving on its shores and who often move on to other European countries after arriving, is said to be less concerned about the migration crisis.
A senior UK Government source claims Spain has been consistently uninterested in discussing how to tackle illegal immigration, saying: “They are the least interested of all the European countries on this issue”.
Mr Sunak can also argue that the current agenda of AI will be the focus of the upcoming global summit on Artificial Intelligence being held in Britain this Autumn.
The row over migrants comes after another week of heavy focus on the crisis by the Government.
Suella Braverman’s speeches in the US on the issue, not least her demand to change the 1951 UN charter governing how a refugee is defined, sparked wide-spread coverage and is a debate the Government are hoping to have world-wide.
This morning it’s reported No. 10 has authorised Suella Braverman to threaten that Britain will leave the European Convention on Human Rights as a “warning shot” to the Strasbourg court not to block flights deporting migrants to Rwanda.
The make-or-break domestic courtroom showdown will begin on October 9 at the Supreme Court, which will spend three days debating whether the Government’s flagship policy of deportations to Africa is lawful.
However ministers fear that even approval by the UK’s highest court will be challenged in Strasbourg, further delaying or suspending flights.
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