Migration, UK Referendum Dominate First Day of EU SummitEU | December 18, 2015, Friday // 10:06| views
European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker (L) and EU council President Donald Tusk give a press briefing at the end of first day of EU Summit in Brussels, Belgium, 17 December 2015. Photo: EPA
The Heads of State or Government of the EU member states, who have convened for a regular meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, discussed migration and the referendum on the UK's continued membership to the EU at the first day of the summit.
As regards the unprecedented migratory flows Europe is facing, leaders agreed that the EU institutions and member states should urgently address the shortcomings at the Schengen external borders and the deficiences in the functioning of hotspots.
They also vowed to ensure systematic and complete identification, registration and fingerprinting, tackle refusal of registration and stem irregular secondary flows.
The leaders also agreed to implement relocation decisions, take concrete measures to ensure the actual return and readmission of people not authorised to stay and fight human smuggling and trafficking.
They pledged to continue implementing the agreed resettlement scheme and to continue to closely monitor flows along migration routes.
As regards the establishment of a European Border and Coast Guard, which was proposed by the European Commission earlier this week, the European Council vowed to rapidly discuss it and adopt its position under the Netherlands Presidency, which begins in January next year.
The EU leaders also exchanged views on the plans of British Prime Minister David Cameron to hold a referendum on the UK's continued membership to the EU.
They agreed to find solutions in all the four areas, in which Cameron is seeking reforms, at their next meeting scheduled to take place in February next year.
The summit continues on Friday, with the topics on the agenda being Economic and Monetary Union, the single market and the fight against terrorism.
The European Council will finish by adopting conclusions on Syria, while the fate of the sanctions against Russia will be discussed by the Commitee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER).
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