Migration could be a “make or break” issue for the European Union (EU), German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday ahead of a critical EU summit. She pressed the German parliament to back a tough but humane asylum and migration policy for the EU, warning that if Germany fails to support that, migration issues could define Europe’s destiny, reports CNN.
In a striking appeal to her own parliament for European solidarity, Merkel unpicked some of the most contentious problems pitting members of the EU against each other. “Those who come to Europe cannot choose which EU country they want to seek asylum in,” she said.
“Secondly, we cannot leave those countries where asylum seekers arrive to deal with (the problem) alone. “If we do not get an agreement with the 28 EU member states, we will then need to consider a coalition of the willing on migrant policy. We need to find better solutions.”
Merkel urged against states acting unilaterally on migration, insisting that Europe needs to remain true to its multilateral values. “Our decision to open doors to refugees in 2015 was not unilateral. We acted to help Austria and Hungary,” CNN quoted the Chancellor as saying.
Merkel also pointed out that the number of asylum seekers coming to Europe had fallen dramatically and that it was now time for Europe to return to the migration policy it had before 2015. The German Chancellor’s remarks come ahead of an EU leaders summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday for an European Council summit that was supposed to focus on Brexit.
Instead, with little progress on that front and high profile disagreements over the fate of migrants rescued at sea, migration has come to the fore.