Germany and Austria call emergency EU summit on refugee crisis
Angela Merkel, German chancellor, and Werner Faymann, her Austrian counterpart, on Tuesday called for an emergency EU summit on the refugee crisis, while the EU also scheduled a ministerial meeting next week to seek to agree a quota system for sharing out 120,000 refugees following the failure on Monday to agree on burden sharing of the tens of thousands of refugees that have mainly fled the civil war in Syria and are seeking refuge in Europe.
Chancellor Merkel also on Tuesday pledged more federal support to German states responsible for housing tens of thousands of refugees entering the country. Leaders have said they intend to reorganise how refugees are settled in Germany.
Deutsche Welle (DW) said that after meeting nearly four hours with the 16 state leaders on Tuesday, Merkel said: "The important thing now is to create an orderly and transparent process to deal with the large number of refugees."
Merkel also said the federal government would create 40,000 places for migrants and that distribution centres are to be created in the states. Some 800,000 people are expected to apply for asylum in Germany this year.
"Such hubs are necessary," she said, adding that the country as a whole must provide a massive push to deal with the crisis. Merkel and the state leaders did not reach a decision on where the distribution centers would be located.
DW reports that Austria on Wednesday tightened border controls at the country's frontier with Hungary, as authorities struggled to deal with the bottleneck created by Germany's reintroduction of checks at its border to Austria.
The Austrian measures, which came into effect from midnight, were said to be temporary and in accordance with EU rules to "maintain public order."
The Austrian Press Agency (APA) reported that between 2,500 and 3,000 people were still leaving Austria for Germany on a daily basis. However, Deputy Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner said there was still a "backlog."
Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Austrian interior minister, said no one fleeing war or persecution would be turned back to Hungary, despite the introduction of controls at the border. Mikl-Leitner told public broadcaster ORF that Syrians and others in danger could continue to ask for asylum in Austria or travel on to Germany.
The Financial Times reports that the EU is far from reaching a common stance. Berlin’s decision this weekend to reintroduce border checks triggered tit-for-tat moves in Slovakia and the Netherlands, as well as Austria.
Hungary closed off parts of its border with Serbia and threatened to build a fence blocking off its border with Romania as part of its attempts to cope with an influx of refugees — a move Bucharest denounced as “against the EU spirit”.
Officials fear that without a solution to the refugee crisis, a breakdown — or at the least, a jamming-up — of the EU’s emblematic border-free zone is possible.
“Control-free borders cannot exist in the long term without a real European asylum policy,” a senior European official said.
Deutsche Bank in a briefing note published last Friday on inward migration to the EU noted: "Given Germany’s solid economic growth and buoyant tax receipts, which in 2015 will be about €5bn higher than previously expected, it should be no problem for the government to finance the additional outlays without jeopardising the target of a balanced budget. The same will be true for 2016. Public finances in some other countries, especially the frontline countries, will
be challenged more, depending on the number of applicants they ultimately host and on the support they receive from the EU. At present, however, it would be difficult to make serious calculations."
Pic above: The Austro-German border; Pic below: Angela Merkel, German chancellor with Werner Faymann, her Austrian counterpart, Berlin 15 Sept,2015.