Berlin :As thousands of asylum-seekers continued to stream into Europe, Germany has called upon its EU partners to agree on a common policy to deal with the influx and on a fair burden-sharing at two meetings this week.
The interior ministers of the 28-nation bloc meeting in Brussels tomorrow should finally clear the way for a relocation of the refugees and for the setting up of preliminary registration centres at the external borders of the EU, vice chancellor and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel said yesterday.
Germany and a few other countries alone cannot carry the burden of refugees for a long time and it must be shared by all members of the EU, he said.
Even for Europe’s economic powerhouse Germany, the burden of refugees is becoming too much to bear and the country’s public, who have shown “unbelievable readiness” to support the asylum-seekers, may soon begin to ask how long this influx will continue, Gabriel said.
Therefore, a fair burden-sharing on the basis solidarity will be crucial for the stability of the EU, he said.
The heads of state and government of the EU, who will hold an emergency summit in Brussels on Wednesday, should take steps to tackle the root causes of the refugee crisis, he added.
He also stressed the need for providing further support to Turkey, which is currently a main source of the migrants heading to Europe through the Balkans route.
Setting up of registration centres at the external borders of the EU will help the authorities to identify those refugees who have a chance for asylum in the EU and to deport the others even before entering the EU, he said.
Gabriel suggested that if a consensus on this issue could not be reached at tomorrow’s meeting, a final decision should be taken on the basis of a majority vote.
Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere ruled out the possibility of Germany taking thousands of refugees stranded in the Balkans after Hungary and Croatia last week closed their borders with Serbia and Slovenia refused to let them in.
Meanwhile, refugees continued to pour into southern Germany from Austria in spite of a border control introduced last week.
Police in the state of Bavaria said 1,700 people arrived in the town of Passau from Austria yesterday by train and they were taken to a new reception centre for refugees in the town of Feldkirchen.
More than 20,000 refugees crossed into Austria from Hungary and Slovenia at the weekend and most of them wanted to travel to Germany, according to media reports.