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The Debate

The big divide: EU summit split over border policy

The stakes couldn't be higher at the Brussels summit, with the German chancellor warning that the EU's fate hangs in the balance of a deal on border policy. Can compromise be reached?

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It's the big EU summit that everyone's been eyeing for months, the one where Emmanuel Macron was going to launch the fightback against right-wing populism with the rolling out of reforms that make the euro work for its citizens. But now that the date's arrived, that's all been been upstaged by the battle over borders.

The captain of the ship seems to be Italy's new interior minister, far-right leader Matteo Salvini who every day has been targeting Macron. He even started the week with a surprise trip to Tripoli to hammer home the point that he'd no longer let in rescue ships. With last weekend's preparatory summit on the migration crisis proving inconclusive, we can expect plenty of fireworks in Brussels now.

Some even wonder if the German chancellor's job is at stake. Her hardline Bavarian interior minister is holding his fire on tightening the border with Austria until after the summit. Austria's right-wing chancellor wants an axis of the willing and is getting ready to take over the rotating presidency of the EU.

It was immigration that tipped the scales in favour of Brexit in the UK. Will it now tear apart the whole of Europe?

Produced by Charles Wente, James Vasina and Van Meguerditchian.

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