French and German leaders are due to meet in Berlin to discuss ways of tackling the latest wave of refugees entering Europe. The influx of people seeking asylum is the largest in 50 years.
France’s President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were to meet in Berlin on Monday to discuss strategies to tackle the ongoing refugee crisis, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.
The French government also said the two leaders would try to provide a fresh stimulus to the European Union’s (EU) response to dealing with the thousands of migrants reaching Europe’s shores. About 107,000 refugees arrived in Europe last month, triggering fears that the bloc would not be able to cope with the crisis.
Merkel and Hollande were planning to discuss “harmonizing” strategies on asylum policies and thinking of a “complete European policy” to deal with asylum seekers, news agency AFP reported a government official as saying.
The two leaders would also prioritize compiling a list of countries, nationals of which would not be granted asylum in Europe. There were also plans to set up reception centers in Greece and Italy to help identify illegal migrants and asylum seekers.
The proposed talks come after EU member states rejected a proposal by commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker to set mandatory national quotas for refugee intake.
More than 108,000 migrants have reached Italy’s shores so far this year. The country’s navy and coastguard also rescued 4,400 refugees who were crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to southern Europe in flimsy boats.
More than 45,000 migrants have in the past two months, with several thousand breaking through barbed wire fences at the Greece-Macedonia border over the weekend.
The refugees are people mostly fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Afghanistan and African countries.