German Chancellor Angela Merkel says her government is unable to help Greece with the migrant crisis, remarking that times have moved on since she was able to help Hungary out with a similar problem in 2015.
Last year when many migrants were stuck in Hungary German Chancellor Angela Merkel did everything possible to allow them to move on to Germany, fearing that there may be tensions and violence if they remained bottle-necked in the central European country. Now with a similar situation happening in Greece after the closure of the Macedonian border, the Germans are telling the Greeks they won’t help move more migrants to Germany directly, reports Zeit.
Merkel has demanded that migrants arriving in Greece via Turkey must use the registration centres there rather than attempt to travel through the Balkans and register in Germany, the opposite of the German policy in September where migrants were waved through in the hundreds of thousands to be registered in places like Munich or Berlin.
“There just isn’t the right for a refugee to say I want to go to that particular country and seek EU asylum,” Merkel told press after a meeting with Croatia’s Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković
The change in policy comes from the EU summit meeting in Brussels recently where leaders across the union decided to implement border controls and not merely wave through migrants to any country they desired. The open border Schengen system would then be gradually restored once migrants were housed and registered rather than roaming around the union in giant columns of people seeking to stay in Germany or Sweden.
Merkel also said that the migrant crisis has shown that unilateral leadership will not solve the problem and that every member state of the European Union must act together and coordinate a plan to deal with the crisis. She also warned that people smugglers are looking at new routes to smuggle people toward Germany which would likely involve going through other non-EU member states like Albania where migrants could get to Italy by way of the Adriatic sea or up through Bosnia through to Slovenia and Austria.
She also warned other EU members saying that without action the crisis could lead to severe destabilization in places like Greece where there has already been violence on the Macedonian border to other Balkan countries like Bosnia and Kosovo who have been under a strained peace accord which was recently brought under new tensions by actions of the Republic of Srpska who broke official police cooperation with the Bosnian government in December.
Next Monday the German chancellor will join French President Francois Hollande to prepare for the next EU summit with Turkey which will primarily deal with the migrant crisis. Merkel has said she hopes to see cooperation from Ankara to tackle the problem of migrants entering the EU, but also said she didn’t expect the summit to solve the problem but at best be a “step in the right direction.”