German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated on the sidelines of Sunday’s informal “mini-summit” on migration in Brussels, which gathered about 16 EU countries, that the FRONTEX mandate might need to be extended.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has voiced the country’s views on migration policy, a potentially destructive element on the EU’s agenda, putting the union on the brink of a breakup.
The German top official stated, speaking to journalists after the end of the informal summit on migration in Brussels, that there was “a lot of goodwill” to discuss EU disagreements on the issue. She noted that the EU wants European solutions wherever possible, saying that where an EU deal is not applicable, the EU needs bilateral solutions. Merkel mentioned Libya and Turkey as good examples of migration deals with non-EU members. She noted that the union needs such agreements with regional players: the main areas the asylum seekers come from.
“We discussed Operation Sofia and the progress in strengthening the Libyan coast guard, and we clearly indicated that the Libyan coast guard should really work effectively and that we, of course, should support Libya,” Merkel said.
Despite criticism of the EU’s migration accord with Turkey, Merkel stated that the EU should pay the second tranche within their agreement.
“Regarding our relations with the countries of origin or transit countries, we were again convinced today that the EU-Turkey agreement is exemplary, but we must now pay the second tranche so that Turkey could fulfill its great task of supporting refugees with European assistance,” the German leader told reporters after the meeting.
Prior to the meeting, the German chancellor stressed that there could not be a solution on migration at the summit on Thursday, outlining that a large part of the discussions would include the issue of external borders and the reduction of illegal migration into the EU.
The EU is still facing major political disputes over its response to the mass influx of immigrants and refugees which began in 2015. The EU’s Eastern European members have refused to accept migrants on a mass scale and reject the idea of refugee quotas.
Merkel, in her turn, has recently faced harsh criticism by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the head of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CSU), who stated that she should negotiate individual agreements with Germany’s immediate neighbors to allow Berlin to turn back refugees who have already been registered in another EU country until July 1.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, for his part, said that Vienna, Berlin and Rome plan to jointly grapple with the problem of illegal migration, referring to the fact that migrants often arrive in Austria through Italy and, if unwilling to settle there, head to Germany.