domingo, 28 de fevereiro de 2016

Germany 'threatens to close borders to refugees' to put pressure on its neighbours

Germany 'threatens to close borders to refugees' to put pressure on its neighbours

The interior minister has apparently ordered officials to draw up plans to close the borders, according to sources close to Thomas de Maiziere

By Justin Huggler, Berlin6:11PM GMT 28 Feb 2016

Germany is threatening to close its borders to asylum seekers in an attempt to pressure other governments into doing more to solve the migrant crisis.
While Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, insists she wants to keep Europe’s borders open, plans leaked to German newspaper on Sunday suggest that her government is drawing up measures to reinstate its own national controls.
In what Welt am Sonntag newspaper called a “clear threat to the EU”, sources said that Germany was considering turning away asylum seekers at the border.
Such a move could leave countries that have been critical of Mrs Merkel’s “open-door” refugee policy struggling to cope with hundreds of thousands of migrants.
Sources close to Thomas de Maiziere, the interior minister, told Welt am Sonntag that he had ordered officials to draw up plans to close the borders.
“For de Maiziere, the time of waving the refugees through is over,” the sources said.
Sigmar Gabriel, Germany vice-chancellor, has commissioned a report on the possible economic consequences of closing Germany’s borders.
In Bavaria, the state government has ordered police to make preliminary preparations to reintroduce permanent border controls and start turning away asylum seekers.
Any closure of Germany’s borders would have to be approved by Mrs Merkel.
The latest moves appear to be an attempt to pressure other governments ahead of an EU-Turkey summit next Monday.
Mr de Maiziere has decided the summit will be the “turning point”, according to Welt.
If EU leaders cannot agree a joint strategy to tackle the crisis at the meeting, Germany is prepared to take unilateral action.
Mrs Merkel has been leading negotiations for EU states to take in a fixed quota of Syrian refugees from Turkey in exchange for Turkish help reducing the flow of migrants into Europe.
But she has faced growing opposition from a number of European countries, who say they will not accept quotas.
Austria and several eastern European counties have called for Greece’s northern borders to be closed as an alternative way to stop the influx.
That has left Greece fearful it will be left to deal with the crisis alone.
Mr de Maiziere’s move appears to be an attempt to turn the tables on other European governments, warning that if Germany closes its borders they will be left to deal with the influx.
Germany is understood to have drawn up plans to turn asylum seekers away by enforcing the EU’s Dublin regulations, under which asylum seekers must register their claim in the first member state they reach.
That could leave countries across the continent scrambling to send refugees back to their first point of entry in the EU.
While other governments have attacked Mrs Merkel’s “open-door” refugee policy, Germany has long complained that has been left to shoulder most of the burden alone.

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