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Merkel meets Conte in Berlin

Solidarity on the issue of refugees

Germany and Italy want to work together closely on migration policy. This was emphasised by Federal Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Conte before joint talks in Berlin. Among other things, both called for better protection of the EU’s external borders.

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Giuseppe Conte Migration policy was the focus during the inaugural visit of the new Italian Prime Minister. Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler

"Italy is one of the countries that takes in a lot of refugees as a first country of arrival," said Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel. In order to reduce this number, European cooperation with Libya must be improved. Many refugees are stranded there, hoping to reach the EU across the Mediterranean. Together, solutions must be found to achieve a stable government in Libya, and to provide better training for the coastguard, according to Merkel.

The Chancellor stressed that migration also poses challenges for Germany: "We want to support Italy's call for solidarity, and hope that Germany also receives understanding when it comes to solidarity in Europe on the issue of migration."

Better protection of external borders

Merkel and Conte agreed that the EU’s external borders must be better protected. "The Italian borders are European borders," said the Italian Prime Minister. The Chancellor emphasised that Frontex should be further strengthened for better controls at the EU's external borders. She also called for the fight against illegal migration and human trafficking to be considered as "major tasks" in future EU medium-term financial planning.

Conte welcomed Merkel’s words on solidarity with Italy. He campaigned for replacement of the existing Dublin Regulation, according to which a refugee must apply for asylum in the first country where they entered the EU. In his opinion, future applications for asylum must already be possible in the countries of origin and transit countries.

Jun 19, 2018