Refugee issue not only German challenge: Merkel

Berlin, Sep 25 (IANS) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the refugee issue is not only a challenge for Germany.

“There are nearly 60 million refugees around the world,” Xinhua quoted Merkel as saying on Thursday in her government statement at the German Bundestag.

“It needs only this one number to clarify that we are dealing not only with a German challenge, not only with a European, but a global challenge, which each region, every country, every political level, each institution has to contribute to addressing, ” she said.

This challenge can only be tackled by combating the causes of fleeing, the management of external borders, decent living conditions in the refugee camps, faster asylum procedures, the repatriation of those who have no perspective to stay, and the integration of real victims in need of protection, she noted.

The chancellor also praised the decision of European Union (EU) interior ministers to distribute 120,000 refugees from highly-stressed EU countries on all member countries.

However, she also stressed that Europe needs not only a selective redistribution, but rather a permanent process for a fair distribution of refugees.

The European Commission’s proposal is a first step, she added.

Meanwhile, the chancellor pointed to the need to support the crisis and transit countries and the urgent help of the local people.

She stressed that the fight against causes of flight can only succeed with the cooperation from the United States, Russia and other partner countries.

The governments of EU member countries approved the proposal to relocate 120,000 migrants by a majority vote on Tuesday amid fierce opposition from several countries in central and eastern Europe.

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