BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed her bid to firm up a “European solution” to the migration stand-off back home was bearing dividends, following a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Saturday.
Europe’s existing Dublin system — which states that the country where a migrant enters the EU is responsible for their asylum claim — was “not functional,” Merkel said at a press conference on Saturday.
Mediterranean countries bear the vast majority of new arrivals, and plans to allocate refugees across the EU have not been successful, according to the German chancellor.
Under the terms of a bilateral deal reached earlier this month and which comes into force on Saturday, refugees who arrive in Germany but were already registered in Spain can be returned to the country within 48 hours.
The aim of the agreement was to “find a fair distribution system,” Merkel said.
For the German chancellor, the agreement also served to calm a migration debate between her ruling Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister-party, which briefly threatened her premiership earlier this summer.
However, according to Die Welt there has been no single migrant case to which these new rules would apply since mid-June, indicating the deal will only affect a handful of arrivals.
Merkel defended the deal in the press conference, arguing it showed “Germany and Spain are counting on European solutions.” She said a similar agreement with Greece is being negotiated.
The two leaders also agreed to bolster funding through the European Commission to help Morocco beef up its border policing in an effort to reduce the flow of migrants coming into Spain from Africa, according to a Spanish government statement.
As part of the informal summer visit to Spain, Merkel will also visit the Doñana National Park with Sánchez, who has been in power since June.
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