Donald Tusk, President of the European Union council, said Europe is “close to the limits” of the number of refugees it could accept and encouraged other G20 countries to participate in the crisis. CNN reports:
“The practical capabilities of Europe to host new waves of refugees, not to mention irregular economic migrants, are close to the limits,” Tusk said Sunday before the start of the two-day G20 summit in China…
“In light of an unprecedented number of 65 million displaced people all over the world, the G20 community needs to scale up its share of responsibility,” Tusk said.
“Only global efforts supporting refugees and their host communities will be able to bear fruit.”
Tusk’s tone is different than that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who last week defended her decision to accept over a million refugees in 2015. On Friday, Business Insider published an English translation of an interview Merkel gave to the German newspaper BILD:
BILD: Chancellor Merkel, on 4 September 2015, you made the far-reaching decision to allow several thousand refugees to enter the country when Hungary was no longer able to cope with the influx. Knowing what you know today – would you do the same thing again?
Angela Merkel: Yes, I would. At that point, the number of people arriving had already been rising for months. Even before 4 September, it was clear that we were facing a great challenge. At that weekend, the point was not to open the borders for everybody – but rather not to close them for those people who, out of great humanitarian need, had started their trek to us from Hungary on foot.
BILD: In fact, thousands of people understood your decision as an invitation and encouragement to begin their trek in the first place.
Merkel: No, because the Minister of the Interior had already predicted in mid-August that we would have to expect 800,000 refugees in 2015. This prognosis was then, indeed, misused, for instance by traffickers in Afghanistan – who claimed that Germany would accept 800,000 Afghans. Many people subsequently misunderstood this. It showed how a necessary prognosis directed at the counties and communes here in Germany can be twisted elsewhere and how carefully you have to handle such information in a world of global communication.
Here’s a clip of some of Donald Tusk’s remarks: