Published: Wed, August 30, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Germany, Egypt reach agreement to slow down flow of refugees to Europe

Germany, Egypt reach agreement to slow down flow of refugees to Europe

Chancellor Merkel defended her decision to open German borders in 2015, while also urging European Union countries to show solidarity on refugees.

She did not speak out on migrants or Turkey, but she said, also on Sunday in an interview with Die Welt, a German newspaper, that she did not regret opening Germany's doors to refugees at the height of the migration crisis.

Angela Merkel has said harsher measures should be taken against asylum seekers if they take a holiday in their country of origin.

Merkel said there could be no progress even in trade relations with Turkey if the rule of law was not guaranteed in the country. Merkel's arbitrary suspension of the Dublin Regulation, in fact, started the migrant influx from the Middle East and North African countries that continues to this day.

Merkel bristled at the suggestion that her dominant lead in the polls over Social Democrat Martin Schulz renders the election campaign in Europe's largest economy "boring".

On the idea floated by her finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Merkel said she supported "the very good idea" to turn the euro zone's rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), into a European Monetary Fund.

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She added this was also true for other detained Germans whose cases had not garnered as much public attention.

As she battles for re-election, Mrs Merkel has been subjected to ridicule and protest over her laissez-faire stance on migration. Germany allows plaintiffs to bundle lawsuits against financial companies, and the same rights could be offered to auto buyers if done right, she said. While Green party co-leader Cem Oezdemir said the next government must chart a course for ending the combustion-engine era, Ms Merkel and Mr Schulz say diesel vehicles will have to be on the road for years to come.

It was only the second campaign appearance by Merkel in formerly communist eastern Germany, where anti-foreigner sentiment is especially pronounced.

Asked what she could do to spice up what has so far been a somnolent election campaign, seemingly bereft of real debate, Merkel insisted she wasn't bored. This centre would be in Egypt, a transit country for migrants striving to reach Europe.

However, she admitted that European Union law at the time had been inadequate for dealing with the enormous refugee influx that ensued.

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