Germany and France are to launch a drive for more concerted European immigration and security policies following the foiled attack on an Amsterdam-Paris high-speed train and with Europe reeling under the strain of the biggest migration emergency since the end of the second world war.
Francois Hollande is to travel to Berlin on Monday evening to draft common Franco-German initiatives on immigration and security with Angela Merkel. They will also focus on the worsening situation in eastern Ukraine.
Berlin, in particular, is increasingly determined to push a new system of mandatory quotas for refugees across the EU despite the plan being rejectedamid acrimonious scenes by EU leaders at a summit in June. The European commission is also to propose a new “permanent” system of emergency refugee-sharing across the union.
Following Friday’s abortive train attack in France, and given the immigration pressure, several EU countries have said that national border controls may have to be re-established across Europe’s Schengen passport-free travel zone.
Berlin is also warning of reintroducing national border controls unless other countries step up to the plate and share the refugee burden more equitably.
Proposals from Brussels in May to introduce mandatory refugee quotas across the EU on a small initial scale were rejected by Spain and most of easternEurope. At their June summit, leaders argued till 3.30am and agreed nothing.
Since then, the number of migrants entering Greece, Italy and the Balkans has soared, with Germany predicting the arrival of 800,000 asylum seekers and refugees this year and figures for the EU projected to triple compared with 2014.