Merkel urges EU to share refugee ‘burden’ with Turkey
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Europe to “divide the burden” of the refugee crisis with Turkey.
“We must divide the burden on Turkey, caused by harboring more than two million refugees, between Turkey and Europe,” Merkel told reporters on Tuesday before a parliamentary group meeting with Horst Seehoferher, chairman of her coalition government’s Bavarian partner, the Christian Social Union.
Merkel also highlighted that close partnerships, especially with countries like Turkey, were needed to legalize the status of asylum seekers.
“After these elections, we can also intensify our bilateral visits,” she said. “I firmly believe that the refugee influx can only be diminished by the collective action of the EU, Greece and Turkey.”
Turkey has been home to around 2.5 million refugees, and the country has so far spent $8 billion on refugees, while support from other world countries has amounted to only $417 million.
Also on Tuesday, Merkel said that she did not wish renewed military tensions in the Balkans because of the recent refugee influx into Europe.
“I don’t want any more military tensions there,” she said during an event of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Party in southern Darmstadt city.
Merkel criticized the closing of borders to refugees by some European states, saying such actions could not solve the refugee crisis.
“I do not want to be pessimistic but disputes could turn more quickly than we think into fights, then fights into other forms that none of us ever desires,” she warned.
The chancellor further said that the closure of Austrian border would lead refugees to attempt crossing into Germany from other neighboring countries.
Merkel faces growing criticism at home over her government’s open-door policy for asylum seekers as a record 577,000 refugees arrived in Germany between January and September. Around one million are expected by the end of the year.
Germany has taken in the largest number of refugees as Europe experiences the greatest movement of people since World War II, a development that has been exploited by right-wing groups.