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Hollande, Merkel 'to discuss EU migrant crisis on Monday'

24 august 2015, 11:05
0

The French and German leaders will meet in Berlin on Monday to give a new push to European efforts to tackle the biggest migrant crisis in 50 years, a source in the French presidency said, AFP reports.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will strive to provide a fresh impetus to the EU's response in dealing with the rapidly worsening situation, a source in Hollande's office said Sunday.

They will also discuss the Ukraine crisis along with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, according to the Elysee source.

The diplomatic push comes as Europe is grappling with an unprecedented influx of migrants fleeing war and unrest in what the EU has described as its worst refugee crisis since World War II.

Official figures show a record 107,500 migrants crossed into the EU last month and the figure looks set to increase.    

"There has to be a new impetus so that what has been decided is implemented and there are new perspectives," the source said, referring to EU decisions taken in June to tackle the crisis.

"The situation is not resolving itself," the source said, adding that the decisions made by the EU "are not sufficient, not quick enough and not up to the task."

Hollande and Merkel will discuss their countries' wish "to go much further in harmonising" strategy on several aspects including asylum policies and "for a complete European policy" to be put into place, the source said.

Their priorities include compiling a list of countries whose nationals would not be considered asylum seekers except in exceptional personal circumstances.

The EU has hitherto failed in efforts to draw up a common list of such countries.

The French and German leaders will also move to help speed up the setting up of reception centres in overwhelmed Greece and Italy to help identify asylum seekers and illegal migrants.

"As long as these reception centres are not there and there is no internal solidarity within the EU, the return of migrants -- which will dissuade further new arrivals -- will not happen," the source added.

In Rome, Italian officials said the coastguard had rescued 4,400 migrants from 22 boats in the Mediterranean on Saturday in what was understood to be the highest daily figure in years.

The number raises to more than 108,000 the number that have arrived in Italy alone this year.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel meanwhile said on Sunday that a four-fold increase in asylum requests -- expected to top 800,000 this year -- was the country's "biggest challenge since reunification" in 1990.


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