BERLIN/PARIS – Merkel and Macron agree to accept more refugees from Moria

Following the Moria fire, Germany and France said they will be accepting 400 unaccompanied minors from the camp. Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hopes other EU countries will follow suit.

“We have known for a long time that people there live under inhumane conditions,” she said. The fire simply “showed, as if through a magnifying glass, what the problem is […] It cannot stay like this.”

Germany has previously taken in 460 unaccompanied children from the Greek islands and some states have indicated that they want to accept more. However, this requires the consent of the federal government, and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) has refused to give it, insisting that there should be a European solution.

In addition to long-standing criticism coming from the Greens, the Social Democrats, CDU/CSU’s coalition partner, have started to put pressure on Seehofer. Party co-chair Saskia Esken called on the CSU to allow for the rapid acceptance of refugees. Family Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) said that “we cannot wait until all European partner countries have reached agreement. That will take weeks and months.”

Some within Seehofer’s own party are also calling for action, 16 CDU/CSU lawmakers wrote a letter to the interior minister this week calling for Germany to accept 5,000 refugees from the Greek islands “if possible together with other EU states, but if necessary also alone.”

Seehofer’s party colleague, Development Minister Gerd Müller, has called for the admission of 2,000 refugees into the country. “[Moria] is not a refugee camp; it is a prison. Refugees are crammed in like criminals,” he said in an interview with the TV network ARD.

(Sarah Lawton |

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