Europe must act together on refugee crisis, Merkel says

Inflatable capsizes in Turkish waters, killing 13 people, including six children

Divided European leaders will seek to find a response to the continent’s worst migration crisis since the second World War at an emergency summit next week.

German chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday called on her peers to accept joint responsibility. "Germany is willing to help. But it is not just a German challenge, but one for all of Europe, " she told a gathering of trade unionists. "Europe must act together and take on responsibility. Germany can't shoulder this task alone."

Striking a more sceptical tone on migration than in previous weeks, Merkel also warned Germany could not shelter those who were moving for economic reasons rather than to flee war or persecution.


“We are a big country. We are a strong country. But to make out as if we alone can solve all the social problems of the world would not be realistic,” she told the



trade union.

Her announcement came on the same day 13 migrants, including six children, died when their boat was wrecked in Turkish waters. An inflatable carrying 46 people towards the Greek island of Lesbos collided with a cargo vessel and capsized. Their nationalities were not immediately known.

European Council president Donald Tusk, who chairs EU summits, said on Twitter yesterday following a weekend visit to Jordan and Egypt that the EU needed to help Syrian refugees find a better life closer to home.

That will be one of the topics of discussion for Wednesday’s summit in Brussels as hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants brave the seas and trek across the impoverished Balkan peninsula to reach more affluent countries in northern Europe.


The 28-member bloc has struggled to find a unified response to the crisis, which has tested its newer members in the east that are unaccustomed to large-scale immigration.

Hungary yesterday erected a steel gate and fence posts at a border crossing with Croatia, the EU's newest member state. Overwhelmed by an influx of 25,000 migrants this week, Croatia has been sending them north by bus and train to Hungary, which has waved them on to Austria.

About 10,700 migrants walked into Austria from Hungary on Sunday, 200 more than on Saturday.

The influx of migrants, most fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has led to bitter recriminations between European governments, while the temporary closure of national borders undermines one of the most tangible achievements of the EU. "If you don't cope with this crisis, then I think the EU will fall apart," said a senior EU official.– (Reuters)