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Italy and Germany signal tougher EU stance on migrants

Update: September, 01/2016 - 11:00
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a press conference during a bilateral meeting at the Ferrari farm in Maranello. — AFP/VNA Photo
Viet Nam News

MARANELLO, Italy — Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed Wednesday to step up efforts to send migrants with no right to asylum in Europe back to their homelands.

"All of us in Europe must work for the repatriation of those who do not have rights (to stay)," Renzi said after a meeting with Merkel in the home of the Ferrari sports car empire. "It is unthinkable that we can accommodate everyone."

In comments pointing to a hardening of attitudes about how to resolve the migrant crisis reshaping politics across Europe, Merkel added: "Not everyone can stay, and Italy has the same problem, so we have a common agenda.

"Those who do not have the right to stay have to be repatriated," she said.

The German leader was speaking a year to the day after she after she won praise and criticism in equal measure for signalling an open door policy on refugees by declaring "we can do this" in relation to people fleeing the conflict in Syria.

She said Wednesday that she stood by the expression.

"I’m convinced it was the right phrase," she said, striking a less contrite tone than she had

adopted in an interview with German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that was published on Wednesday.

"There are political issues that one can see coming but don’t really register with people at that certain moment," Merkel was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

"And in Germany, we ignored both the problem for too long and blocked out the need to find a pan-European solution." — AFP

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