France and Germany Leaders Plan Historic European Parliament Address
Parliamentary officials have announced that the German and French leaders are to deliver a joint address to the European Parliament, adding that the last such appearance, by their predecessors Helmut Kohl and François Mitterrand, came after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.
The pair is expected to warn of the perils faced by the EU.
“This is a historic visit for historically difficult times,” parliament speaker Martin Schulz, a German Social Democrat said who has sought to forge closer ties between Paris and Berlin, “The EU is facing immense challenges and requires strong commitment by its leaders,” Euroactive reports.
Other officials said France and Germany, the driving forces of European integration after World War Two, would send a signal that the European Union, much expanded since the Cold War, must stick together in face of an array of divisive problems that have seen national frontiers closing again across the continent in response to a wave of refugees arriving from the Middle East.
Francois Hollande has in fact already compared the refugee crisis to the fall of Berlin wall.
“When the wall fell, we didn’t say close our doors to the eastern countries, we welcomed them” he said, France24 writes.
Angela Merkel, in her turn, who pushed for the meeting and wants EU commitments to increase funding for Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and elsewhere, also stressed that the migration crisis could be eliminated only with the participation of Russia and the United States.
“Only with the US, in regard with Syria – and with Russia, we can deal with the causes of people fleeing,” the Chancellor said.
Diplomats in Brussels enumerated a range of possible compromises being discussed on a proposal by the EU executive to take 120,000 asylum-seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary and relocate them in other states according to a quota system.
But as Deutsche Welle puts it, the ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Latvia, all rejected proposals for binding migrant quotas that are advocated by Germany.