‘European Solution’ to Migration Urged by Merkel, Macron While Germany Secures Bilateral Deals

‘European Solution’ to Migration Urged by Merkel, Macron While Germany Secures Bilateral Deals

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have called for a “coordinated European solution” to the arrivals of migrants through the Mediterranean.

The leaders of Germany and France talked over the phone on Friday, the Elysee Palace announced, discussing the migrant crisis the EU has been experiencing, among other acute international issues.

Regardless of their call for an EU-wide solution, however, Merkel and Macron are not reported to have suggested any specific measures as to how the “coordinated” European response might be achieved.

The call comes against the backdrop of Germany’s new policy to try to stem the influx of migrants by striking bilateral migrant return deals with EU member states that are points of entry for migrants into the Union and the Schengen Area.

The deals allow Germany to send any asylum seekers back to the country in which they entered EU soil.

So far, Berlin has managed to negotiate migrant return agreements with Spain and Greece, and a third one is in the making with Italy.

It remains unknown what the other signatories get from Germany in return. However, in its deal with Spain, Berlin promised to put in efforts to curb the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean and arriving in Spain from Morocco.

This has been followed by reports that the Moroccan authorities – as well as those in Algeria – are rounding up migrants headed for the EU, and busing them in the interior of the country.

In their phone conversation, Merkel and Macron discussed the issue of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, after the NGO ship The Aquarius was refused entry by several coastal EU states, and eventually docked in Malta.

Both Merkel and Macron called for a “coordinated European solution” in regards to the intake of rescue ships and an approach to smugglers, the Elysee Palace said, as cited by DW.

Italy no longer allows private ships to enter its ports arguing that they encourage human traffickers and smugglers. More than 20 rescue workers are being investigated for assisting with illegal immigration on the Italian island of Sicily.

Over the phone, Merkel and Macron also discussed the war in Ukraine where pro-Russian rebels remain pitted against Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donbass region, and the war in Syria where the rebel-controlled Idlib province is experiencing a growing humanitarian crisis.

The conversation of the German Chancellor and the French President comes ahead of Saturday’s meeting of the former with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Meseberg Palace outside Berlin.

Merkel already warned that her meeting with Putin is unlikely to produce any kind of a breakthrough with respect to the conflict in Ukraine.

Germany and France want UN troops deployed in all areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists, including along the Russia-Ukraine border. Russia is opposed to the idea.

“It’s a working meeting from which no specific results are expected. But the number of problems that occupy us — from Ukraine and Syria to the issue of economic cooperation — is so big that it is justified to be in a permanent dialogue,” Merkel said on Friday.

Her last meeting with Putin was in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi in May 2018.

(Banner image: Flickr)

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