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Germany: Merkel calls for EU-wide approach to asylum policy

Speaking to public broadcaster ZDF on Sunday, Chancellor Merkel said that although the hundreds of thousands of refugees that have arrived in Germany since the start of the year presented the authorities with a "huge challenge," the country was not overwhelmed. At the same time, though, she warned that this challenge could not be met "if we operate in standard mode."

Merkel told ZDF that she had already spoken to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker about the need for the European Union to develop a common policy on asylum. She said she also intended to raise the issue with French President Francois Hollande in the near future.

"The asylum issue could be the next grand European project, in which we will see if we are really able to take concerted action," the chancellor said.

In the short term though, she said Germany's priority had to be housing the migrants who continue to enter the country in unprecedented numbers. This, she said, included getting refugees currently being housed in tents into containers or better before winter sets in.

The chancellor also pitched the idea of extending the list of "safe countries of origin," to help discourage asylum seekers from Balkan countries who may be fleeing poverty, but where no armed conflicts currently exist. Here too, the chancellor said, the goal should be developing an EU-wide policy.

Read more: Merkel calls for EU-wide approach to asylum policy | News | DW.COM | 16.08.2015

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