Friday 30 September 2016

Germany 'offered to help with migrants'

Carole Stephens

Published 05/03/2016 | 02:30

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

The German government has offered to help Greece cope with thousands of migrants camped at its borders but points out Athens hasn't yet requested assistance.

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A spokesman for the Interior Ministry last night said Germany's disaster response agency, Federal Agency for Technical Relief, stands ready to assist.

Asked by reporters in Berlin why Germany had so far only provided limited assistance to Greece, spokesman Johannes Dimroth said that "it's not the case that we're not prepared to help".

He added that "on the contrary, the available services and resources . . . have been offered and need to be requested by the Greek side. That hasn't happened yet."

Government spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz said EU leaders would discuss the "dramatic situation in Greece" in Brussels on Monday.

Yesterday, Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was counterproductive for European countries to implement individual measures in response to the migrant crisis.

She said border slowdowns and closures have just meant migrants are now piling up in Greece, overwhelming the country's resources.

Borders

Ms Merkel is attempting to find agreement for a European solution, and said yesterday at a meeting with President Francois Hollande in Paris that "unilateral solutions do not help us".

She said Europe needs to work closely with Turkey to stop the flow of migrants, and also to secure its outer borders so it knows who is entering, and that movement within Europe is not restricted.

The EU's head office estimates the cost of fully restoring border controls between EU member states would be as high as €18bn a year.

As temporary controls between several member states are reimposed to deal with the migrant crisis, the fear of the full collapse of the borderless Schengen zone through most of the EU has increased over the past month.

The European Commission said beyond trade, the re-imposition of borders "would also risk putting in jeopardy the judicial and police cooperation."

Irish Independent

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