Merkel, Hollande calls for 'hotspot' in Italy and Greece

German Chancellor Merkel, French President Hollande wrote letter to EU states over settling 'sustainable and binding' mechanism in European countries

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a press conference on Friday that both Merkel and French President Francois Hollande wrote a letter to European Union (EU) leaders to press for a "sustainable and binding" mechanism for resettling refugees across the member states.

Spokesman said that the letter that has been written was also sent to the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk, which includes concrete proposals on overcoming the Europe refugee crisis.

In the letter,  a quick establishment called “hotspot” reception centres in Italy and Greece have been emphasised. A request from the Commission President Junker to analyse whether the "hotspots" should settle in other European countries.

"The so-called hotspots in Italy and Greece must be up and running as soon as possible, at the latest by the end of the year," Seibert said, nothing that Germany and France were prepared to provide support, Reuters reports.

"Closely linked to the establishment of these reception centres is the question of how refugees can be distributed, based on the principle of solidarity, across all member states. We urgently need a sustainable and binding mechanism for the resettlement of these people," Seibert added.

Germany confirmed recently that it has stopped remanding Syrian refugees to their first port of entry state in the EU. This means ignoring the Dublin Regulation, that asylum-seekers must be registered in the country which they first entered the EU, which applies to all member states.

The decision of Germany pleased over European countries read as the sample, “act of European solidarity.”

The spokesman also pointed out that the EU will tighten its asylum laws for the western-Balkan nationals, by determining if the countries in the region are  "safe countries of origin,” Zee Media Corporation reported.

"The states of the western-Balkans are making their way toward Europe, some of them have ambitions of applying for membership [the European Union]," spokesman told reporters.

"They are actually by definition states in which there can be no political oppression or civil war - that is, situations that would give grounds for protection."

Another EU member state, Finland doubled its estimation on the number of asylum seeker influx for this year to up to 30,000 compared with last year’s 3,600 refugees.

Finland said that the majority of asylum seekers that come to Finland is from Sweden, crossing a land border up north in Lapland.

A non-member EU state, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Friday that they also rose their estimation on the number of asylum seekers.

"It's not certain that the numbers will fall. It may well be that it rises," she said in a news conference.

Norway’s previous prediction was about 11,000 but it estimates 16,000 for 2015 said the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration earlier on Friday adding 2,313 people had arrived in August.

On the other hand, Slovakia and the Czech Republic aired on Friday that they can open a train corridor for refugees travelling to Germany from Hungary if Hungary and Germany agree on how to deal with the influx of refugees.

Riot police stand guard in front of a refugee reception centre in Roszke, Hungary, September 4, 2015.

Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec told reporters in Prague "if there is some public pledge from Germany that it will accept and not return Syrian refugees who are registered in some European country, we are ready to open a corridor if there is an agreement between Hungary and Germany," after meeting his Slovak counterpart Robert Kalinak.

Meanwhile, later on Friday Czech, Slovak, Polish and Hungarian prime ministers are scheduled to meet in Prague, over EU plans proposed over refugee quotas for member nations.


TRTWorld and agencies