Acting in concert for Europe

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Angela Merkel in Spain Acting in concert for Europe

"We Europeans are only strong if we work together to resolve the questions of the future," Chancellor Angela Merkel reasserted at a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in Andalusia. The most important topic discussed was migration policy.

Angela Merkel and Pedro Sánchez at the press conference

Chancellor Angela Merkel met Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in Andalusia

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

"This is not a responsibility that any country can shirk," said Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is good to know, she added, that Spain and Germany not only have excellent bilateral relations, but that they are also pursuing the same approach to resolve the major issues facing Europe. One outcome is a bilateral agreement between the two countries that came into force on 11 August. It regulates the readmission to Spain of asylum-seekers already registered there.

Angela Merkel thanked Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez for the support in the form of the agreement. The Chancellor had discussed the possibility of an agreement of this sort with the relevant leaders on the sidelines of the European Council meeting at the end of June. The German government would like to conclude agreements of this sort with Italy and Greece too. Negotiations are ongoing.

The aim of the bilateral administrative agreement between Germany and Spain is to restore order in the area of secondary migration. This occurs when asylum-seekers independently move from one EU state to another, irrespective of which EU member state they first arrived in, where their request for asylum is being processed, or whether or not they have asylum status.

Germany and Spain in favour of fair burden sharing within the EU

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez stressed, "Naturally Spain intends to accept responsibility in the field of secondary migration too." That was also one of Germany’s demands. Like Germany, Spain believes in the progress of the European Union.

"As EU member states we must work to find a fair allocation system. And repatriation of individuals that become necessary because they are not entitled to stay in our member states permanently must be jointly organised," said Angela Merkel.

Coordinated cooperation with Morocco

The Chancellor agreed with the Spanish Prime Minister that there should be coordinated cooperation with Morocco under the aegis of Spain. Germany intends to support Spain in negotiations with the North African state. Angela Merkel explained that Spain has closer relations with Morocco than Germany, for historical reasons. "Morocco, in turn, has the duty to cooperate with the countries of origin of migrants beyond its own borders," said Angela Merkel.

"We want to see close, honest cooperation with the states of Africa, from which both sides can benefit," stressed the Chancellor. We must not speak about Africa, but with Africa. "If the difference between the views of Africa and the views of Europe is too great, we will not be able to master the causes of migration and displacement," said Angela Merkel.

"All of us for Europe"

The goal of the Chancellor and the Spanish Prime Minister is a common procedure for Europe. Their ideas are based on the premise that not every EU state requires to discuss and negotiate individually on all issues with the states of Africa. In this context, the Chancellor pointed to existing German partnerships with African states including Niger.

"We don’t all need to do the same thing, but our actions should always be in the same European interests – all of us for Europe and in the interests of successfully tackling the challenges facing Europe," explained the Chancellor.