France, Germany agree binding migrant quotas needed: Merkel

Angela Merkel.  PHOTO: Wikipedia

Angela Merkel. PHOTO: Wikipedia

Germany and France have agreed that the European Union, facing an unprecedented influx of migrants, should impose binding quotas on the numbers member states take in, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday.

“I spoke this morning with the French president, and the French-German position, which we will transmit to the European institutions, is that we agree that … we need binding quotas within the European Union to share the burden. That is the principle of solidarity,” Merkel told reporters during a visit in the Swiss capital.

She insisted the bloc needed to adhere to the basic principle that “those who need protection … get it.”

She said the “economic power and size (of countries) should play a role” in the number of migrants they are asked to take in, but stressed that without quotas, “we cannot solve this problem.”

The French presidency also announced the two European powerhouses would send joint proposals to Brussels “for organising the welcome of refugees and their fair distribution in Europe” and for “reinforcing the European asylum system.”

With the large number of refugees and migrants flooding into Europe and moving through the continent, it warned that “dramas are being followed by tragedies.”

“Thousands of victims have died since the start of the year. The European Union must act in a decisive manner in line with its values,” the French presidency said.

It added though that the joint proposals also aim to ensure “the return of irregular migrants to their countries of origin, and bring the necessary support and cooperation with countries of transit and origin.”

Merkel echoed that, saying that while Europe has an obligation to help those in need, “those who are coming for purely economic reasons cannot expect a lasting protection and must leave the country.”

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