Lead­ers of Ger­many, Spain pledge united front on mi­gra­tion

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL -

BARCELONA, Spain (AP):

THE LEAD­ERS of Ger­many and Spain yes­ter­day pro­moted a shared ap­proach to im­mi­gra­tion into the Euro­pean Union amid grow­ing pop­ulist op­po­si­tion in other EU na­tions to tak­ing in more asy­lum seek­ers.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel and Span­ish Prime Min­is­ter Pe­dro Sanchez, meet­ing at a coun­try es­tate in the south­ern re­gion of An­dalu­sia, ad­vo­cated a “fair dis­tri­bu­tion” of mi­grants for EU na­tions. They said they will share their com­mon vi­sion at an EU sum­mit next month in Aus­tria.

“No coun­try can be ex­empt from this chal­lenge,” Merkel said at a press con­fer­ence af­ter the meet­ing. “The racist ten­den­cies we are see­ing, re­gret­tably, in all mem­ber coun­tries is some­thing we have to fight against.”

Spain has be­come the pri­mary des­ti­na­tion for mi­grants at­tempt­ing to reach Europe by sea in re­cent months.

While largely wel­com­ing, Sanchez’s So­cial­ist gov­ern­ment is try­ing to stem the flow of mi­grants across the Mediter­ranean by hold­ing talks with Morocco, one of the main de­par­ture points now used by traf­fick­ers to cross the sea.

As part of that ef­fort, Sanchez asked Merkel for greater fi­nan­cial co­op­er­a­tion from the EU to as­sist Morocco and Tu­nisia with mi­grant-con­trol pro­grammes.

“We have to in­ten­sify our sup­port for Morocco and Tu­nisia,” Merkel said. “They are bor­der coun­tries and they need our help.”

The In­ter­na­tional Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Mi­gra­tion says al­most 24,000 refugees and other mi­grants have ar­rived in Spain by sea this year — nearly triple last year’s num­ber.

At least 1,500 other mi­grants have died so far this year in the dan­ger­ous Mediter­ranean cross­ing.

The two EU lead­ers had pre­vi­ously agreed to a deal in which Spain will take back mi­grants al­ready reg­is­tered there who try to en­ter Ger­many through Aus­tria. The agree­ment took ef­fect yes­ter­day.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel (sec­ond left) looks through a pair of binoc­u­lars next to Spain’s Prime Min­is­ter Pe­dro Sanchez (left), in the Do­nana Na­tional Park ac­com­pa­nied by Merkel’s hus­band, Joachim Sauer, and Sanchez’s wife, Beg­ona Gomez.

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