The massive flow of migrants into Europe must be slowed with the help of Turkey and better screening of asylum applicants on arrival on the continent, the interior ministers of France and Germany said Friday.
Speaking in Athens the ministers warned again of a real “danger” of Europe’s Schengen border-free zone collapsing if its outer frontiers were not better protected, by, among other things, boosting Greece’s capacity to sort “genuine” refugees from economic migrants.
As the first port of call for migrants fleeing war, persecution and poverty across the Mediterranean from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, Greece has received the overwhelming majority of the more than one million arrivals in the last year.
Most begin their journey in Turkey, which Europe accuses of doing too little to prevent migrant families setting out for Greece in overloaded boats that often sink, costing hundreds of lives since the crisis accelerated last summer.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has come under fierce pressure to review her open-arms approach to migrants, will discuss the situation with French President Francois Hollande at a meeting Sunday in Strasbourg, diplomatic sources said.