Germany and Sweden meet over response to refugee crisis


As asylum seekers continue to stream to their countries, the leaders of Germany and Sweden were to meet Tuesday to discuss the need for a European Union-wide response to the refugee crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven have both called for a coordinated and mandatory system for the redistribution of asylum seekers within the EU.

Germany, along with Sweden and Austria, has also requested more help from neighbouring countries to cope with the throngs of people.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said late on Monday that he expected at least half a million migrants per year to head to Europe’s richest nation.

The three countries have received thousands of refugees, many fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq, while other EU countries have resisted calls for a quota system to redistribute asylum seekers.

Ahead of the meeting with Merkel in Berlin, Lofven underlined that the EU has to do more as an entity.

Voluntary solutions are “not enough,” Lofven told a news conference Monday, citing the need for a “permanent, mandatory redistribution system when catastrophes cause a surge in the number of refugees in one country.”

After meeting Merkel, Lofven will fly back to Sweden to meet with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann.

Germany and Austria agreed on Saturday to take in refugees that had been prevented by Hungary from travelling further west. Hungary had cited EU rules that require asylum seekers to file applications in the first EU state they arrive in.