Merkel, Hollande urge common European asylum policy
Updated: 2015-08-25 09:57
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande (L) and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speak to media after their meeting in the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, August 24, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
BERLIN -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande called on Monday for a common European asylum policy in view of the current wave of refugees entering Europe.
The two leaders made the remarks at a joint press conference after their meeting in Berlin.
Merkel pointed out that the common right of asylum, which exits in many parts of Europe, was not implemented at present.
Germany and France, she said, expected that all member states of the European Union (EU) would fully implement the right of asylum, including registration of refugees as well as minimum standards for accommodation and health care.
Merkel and Hollande called for common European standards for the repatriation of refugees and the definition of safe countries of origin. They also urged a fair distribution of those people who have been granted a residence permit in the EU.
Speaking of the situation in Greece and Italy, the two leaders agreed that EU countries should make joint efforts to help build registration centers and provide staff for them in the two countries as European gateway for asylum-seekers and refugees arriving from sea.
"This must be done quickly, in the current year. We cannot accept any delay," stressed Merkel.
Europe is struggling to deal with the high influxes of people seeking refuge in its borders.
Some 4,400 migrants were rescued off the Libyan coasts on Saturday, one of the biggest operation carried out so far under the EU Triton rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea, according to media reports.
So far this year, more than 2,300 people have died in the attempt to reach Europe by boat, according to the International Organization for Migration.
In Italy alone, some 104,000 migrants have arrived in the country since January from the Middle East, African and south Asian countries. Last year, the county had seen an influx of over 170,000 people.