SOFIA – Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere hoped on Thursday that in the next few months the European Union will be able to reach an agreement to manage migration throughout the region.
De Maiziere, who is in the Bulgarian capital for an informal meeting of EU interior and justice ministers, will debate with other EU interior ministers to create an EU-wide asylum system to avoid the problems suffered during the mass arrival of refugees in 2015 and 2016, when more than a million immigrants were taken in by countries like Germany, Austria and Sweden.
“The European ministers of the interior will today deliberate the next steps on the way to a common European asylum system (...) By June this year, there should be a political agreement,” de Maiziere said.
While the European Commission and Germany have proposed distributing refugees during periods of high arrivals, former communist countries of Eastern Europe, led by Hungary and Poland, want to focus on protecting their external borders.
The new Austrian government, an alliance between a conservative and an ultranationalist party that took office last month, has also been skeptical over obligatory quotas during the distribution of refugees.
“The question of a fair sharing-out is the most difficult issue,” de Maiziere added.
In the last three years, Germany, Sweden and Austria have taken in the majority of refugees who have reached Europe from conflict zones in the Middle East and Africa.