Greece cannot shoulder migrant weight if EU does not ink deal with Turkey: Merkel
BERLIN – Agence France-Presse
German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras leave a Special EU Summit on migrants held at the European Union Council building in Brussels on March 08, 2016. AFP PhotoGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel warned March 10 that closing the route used by migrants through the western Balkans “does not resolve the problem” and that Greek cannot shoulder the weight of the refugee burden if the European Union and Turkey cannot strike of deal.
“That’s why I am seeking a real European solution, that is, a solution for all 28 [EU members],” she said.
A deal discussed with Turkey at an EU summit on March 7 and due to be finalized on March 17-18 would see the country take back illegal migrants landing in Greece.
Ankara proposed an arrangement under which the EU would resettle one Syrian refugee from camps in Turkey in exchange for every Syrian that Turkey takes from Greece, in a bid to reduce the incentive for people to board boats for Europe.
In return though, Turkey wants 6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) in aid, visa-free access to Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone and an acceleration of Ankara’s efforts to join the EU.
“You don’t resolve the problem by taking a unilateral decision,” Merkel told public radio MDR, after western Balkan countries barred entry to transiting migrants from midnight on March 9.
“This situation is neither sustainable nor lasting,” she said.
“Personally I think that Austria’s unilateral decision, and then those made subsequently by Balkan countries, will obviously bring us fewer refugees, but they put Greece in a very difficult situation,” she said.