Speaking in southern Spain after a working lunch on Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez advocated a “fair distribution” of migrants — an approach they intend to promote at next month’s EU summit in Austria.
Merkel said “It is good to know that the German and Spanish governments have the same approach: as Europeans, we are only strong when we work together to resolve the issues of the future.”
Last Monday, Spain became the first EU country to sign an agreement with Germany for the return of asylum seekers if they had lodged an asylum claim in another EU state. Merkel thanked Spain for the agreement which, she said, would bring better order to migration.
Similar bilateral agreements are being sought with Greece and Italy to stop “secondary” migration to Germany. Under EU rules, a migrant has to register in the first EU state of their arrival from outside the bloc.
The chancellor also said Germany wanted “close, real cooperation with African countries from which both sides can win.” She added “We must not talk about, but with Africa.”
“We have to intensify our support for Morocco and Tunisia,” Merkel said. “They are border countries and they need our help.”
Merkel also spoke out against racism: “No country can be exempt from this challenge,” Merkel said. “The racist tendencies we are seeing, regrettably, in all member countries are something we have to fight against.”
The chancellor’s two-day visit is expected to include discussions on economic and monetary reform in the EU, the recent NATO summit and European defense.
A visit the nearby Donana national park is due to be part of Merkel’s Spanish visit.