German Chancellor Kurz sees the EU growing in the awareness that “the compulsory quotas will not come”. He wants to go “in the direction of binding solidarity”.

Refugee Quotas

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) emphasized on Wednesday evening after the dinner of the EU-27 that he was “much more positive on the issue of migration” than Brexit. The other leaders will be making a short briefing on progress made by the Presidency on Thursday. Compared to 2015, there is “a decline of 95 percent in arrivals in Europe,” said Kurz.

Even more important, is that “the number of people who lose their lives in the Mediterranean has also fallen dramatically.” “Every single person who dies is one too many, but we are in a very good direction here.” The cooperation with the transit countries works better and better, according to Kurz. Egypt did not allow ships to illegally leave for Europe, and cooperation with the Libyan Coast Guard would also improve. There are also talks with Morocco and other states, emphasized Kurz.

Within the EU, there is increasing awareness that “the compulsory quotas will not come,” said the Chancellor to debate on the distribution of refugees. He would, therefore, make the proposal “that we go in the direction of binding solidarity”, so everyone contributes, “but this contribution could look very different”. He had always been skeptical of mandatory quotas and has now shown that this way is never supported by all EU states and therefore could not be a solution.

He managed to focus on the protection of the external border, the falling numbers showed this. Although there are still different approaches in terms of the design of the mandate of Frontex, he believed there to be an agreement. “In Germany, however, still more people arrive than in many countries on the outer border,” said Kurz. To pretend that the countries on the external border are the hardest hit, “does not really correspond to the numbers, dates, and facts”. “In 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, the countries most affected by asylum applications are in Central Europe and not on the EU’s external border.”

Sources: Die Presse