German Foreign Minister: “We need a coalition of willing for a mandatory distribution mechanism.”
Germany has called for a European Union-wide ‘redistribution coalition’ to settle migrants who are presently entering into Europe through the Mediterranean Sea. “We need a coalition of willing for a mandatory distribution mechanism,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said. Germany will be taking a “leadership role” in accepting migrants coming from the Mediterranean route, the Foreign Minister added.
Former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was quick to reject the German proposal. “The distribution of migrants in Europe has failed,” Kurz responded on Saturday, citing the EU-track record on the matter so far. He instead urged the European countries to send the migrants that are rescued off the coast of North Africa back “to their home or transit countries” outside the EU.
Germany’s right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) accused the country’s Foreign Minister of encouraging illegal immigration. “By announcing the decision to take in a regular fixed quota of migrants from the Mediterranean routes,” AfD spokesman Gottfried Curio said,” Foreign Minister Maas is once again promoting the business of people smugglers, and giving a further push to illegal immigration.”
German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported Berlin’s latest migrant relocation plan:
Germany should promote a “coalition of the willing” among European Union countries that are prepared to accept refugees saved in the Mediterranean Sea, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Saturday.
“We must now move forward with those member states that are ready to receive refugees — all others remain invited to participate,” he told the RND media group.
Germany would be willing to make a substantial contribution to the alliance and accept a set share of refugees as part of a “binding” redistribution system, he added.
Maas, a Social Democrat, said that disputes between EU countries about redistributing refugees “must no longer” impede an agreement on saving migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean.
“This blockade must finally come to an end,” he said.
The German proposal for a EU-wide resettlement plan coincides with the efforts undertaken by German pro-immigration groups to ‘rescue’ migrant boats off the North African coast and bring the passengers to Italy, Malta, and other Mediterranean countries. These self-described migrant ‘rescue’ boats, many of them operated by German activists, have been using Italian ports despite a ban imposed on them by the country’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.
The matters came to a head last month when Italian authorities arrested Carola Rackete, the captain of the migrant ‘rescue’ ship. Salvini called the ship’s captain a “rich, white, German woman” who had committed “an act of war” against his country after she tried to ram an Italian coast guard boat which was blocking her from entering the harbor.
Germany’s latest migrant resettlement plan is expected to be rejected by most of the eastern European countries. “Berlin is again putting forward the [migrant] redistribution fairy tale of 2015,” German news magazine Tichys Einblicke commented, referring to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s failed efforts to move immigrants who had entered German over to other EU member states, especially to the eastern European countries. Those resettlement measures failed due to stiff opposition from Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
Video: Italy arrests captain of German migrant ship
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