Europe Seeks New Refugee Deal

Refugeesbarbed wire DPA
Germany's plan to integrate Iraqi and Syrian refugees into the workforce is so bureaucratic, it would keep them out, not draw them in, the federal refugee agency chief told Handelsblatt in an exclusive interview.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The entire principle of the European Union is under threat from the refugee crisis. Ministers at the upcoming summit must find a solution soon.

  • Facts


    • 2,200 refugees continued to cross the Aegean Sea to Greece every day in January, down from 7,000 a day in October.
    • German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen wants NATO to target traffickers who bring people into Europe illegally.
    • A group of countries within the E.U. proposes accepting half a million refugees direct from Turkey, but only if Turkey secures its maritime borders.
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The European Union will declare next week that far too many migrants are arriving via Turkey and Greece and suggest that some countries take refugees directly from Turkish camps.

Handelsblatt has seen a draft of the final declaration for the summit that says the flow of migrants from Turkey to Greece is still “far too high.”

Ministers will discuss the possibility that a small group of E.U. countries will accept quotas of refugees taken directly from Turkey.

Germany is leading discussions on the refugee crisis, which is threatening to subsume Europe. Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing hard for a coordinated response. Her defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, also said at a NATO meeting in Brussels Wednesday that the trans-Atlantic partnership should play a bigger role in dealing with human traffickers who are bringing so many of these migrants illegally into Europe, via perilous sea and land routes. She added that Germany is willing to take part in a NATO mission to secure the Aegean Sea.

But while politicians discuss policies, people continue to arrive in Europe, seeking shelter.

In January, an average of 2,200 refugees arrived in Greece every day across the Aegean Sea, the European Commission reported on Wednesday. That is sharply down on the peak numbers seen in October of last year, when 7,000 migrants a day were landing on the Greek islands, but the numbers were still far too high. Since January 1, a total of 340 people have drowned on the short sea passage.

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