European Union leaders gathered in Brussels on June 24 for what has been called a “mini-summit” designed to address the Continent’s migration crisis ahead of a full EU summit four days later.
The 16 leaders -- representing more than half of the 28-member EU -- are taking part in the informal talks that German Chancellor Angela Merkel said will involve "talking with particularly affected nations about all problems connected with migration.”
Hundreds of thousands of people have arrived since 2015, most fleeing wars in Syria and Iraq, fueling tensions among bloc members and boosting the influence of antimigrant parties that reaped large vote totals by playing on public fears of foreigners.
Tensions are still high despite a sharp decrease in migrant arrivals since their peak in 2015, when more than 1 million Syrian asylum-seekers and others entered the bloc.
Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic -- the so-called Visegrad Four countries – have said they will boycott the mini-summit because of opposition to calls from Western EU counterparts, particularly Germany, for all member states to "share the burden" and accept a quota of migrants.
Tensions have risen, too, among Western countries themselves about migration policies.
The leaders are hoping the top-level talks can clear the way for the full summit of all EU leaders on June 28-29.
Merkel, however, has acknowledged that "no solution will be reached" on the overall migration issue at either summit.