Angela Merkel declares asylum rules 'obsolete' as migrant talks opens

The meeting in Luxembourg will bring together EU diplomacy chiefs.

AFP| Updated: Oct 08, 2015, 10:04 AM IST
Angela Merkel declares asylum rules 'obsolete' as migrant talks opens

Luxembourg: EU foreign ministers and their counterparts from nations bordering Syria were to gather Thursday to discuss the migration crisis, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared Europe's asylum rules are "obsolete".

The meeting in Luxembourg, held after talks among the bloc's justice and interior ministers, will bring together EU diplomacy chiefs along with representatives from Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Balkan countries worst affected by the mass exodus from Syria.

Merkel said Wednesday in a speech with French President Francois Hollande to the European Parliament that a "new procedure" was needed to redistribute asylum seekers fairly throughout the 28-nation EU bloc.

In the first such joint address since the fall of the Berlin Wall, they urged the increasingly divided EU to unite to tackle a wave of problems including migration and the war in Syria.

Merkel said the Dublin process, which forces frontline states like Italy and Greece to process and welcome most migrants, "started from good intentions... but the challenges raised at our borders are from now on untenable."

"It is exactly now that we need more Europe. We need courage and cohesion, which Europe has always shown when it was necessary," she added.

Germany is Europe's top destination for people fleeing war and misery in the continent's greatest migrant influx since World War II. It expects between 800,000 and one million newcomers this year alone.

German authorities said Wednesday they had registered around 577,000 asylum seekers in the first nine months of the year, a third of whom claim to be Syrian.