Merkel, Macron Open Doors to 400 Minors From Greek Refugee Camp

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Germany and France agreed to accept 400 unaccompanied minors from a Greek migrant camp that was evacuated after a fire, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

Merkel said she and French President Emmanuel Macron reached the understanding “as a preliminary step” after a request by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. She expressed hope that other European Union countries would also give a home to the children.

Speaking at a panel discussion in Berlin on Thursday, Merkel said the EU must “finally assume more of a shared responsibility” for migration policy.

The comment echoed warnings Merkel made during Europe’s refugee crisis of 2015 and 2016, when her refusal to close Germany’s borders triggered resistance in her governing party bloc and fueled the rise of the nationalist Alternative for Germany. More than 1 million refugees, the bulk of them from Syria, arrived in Germany at the time.

“There is no European refugee policy right now,” and if that doesn’t change, “this would be a heavy burden for Europe,” Merkel said.

The Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesvos was destroyed by a fire on Wednesday that left thousands of refugees homeless. Greek authorities said it was set by a group of refugees.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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