Löfven and Merkel: taking in refugees is a question of values

2:01 min

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (Social Democrat) met his German counterpart, the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, in Berlin, this afternoon to discuss how to handle the refugee crisis in Europe. 

After their lunch meeting, the two heads of government held a joint press conference. 

The press conference began with Chancellor Merkel welcoming the Swedish Prime Minister and stating that the two countries share the same view on the refugee crisis, because they have a similar outlook on the right to asylum in Europe.

Merkel said that developments in the civil war in Syria mean that the Dublin Regulation isn't working. The regulation stipulates that refugees must file for asylum in the first EU member state they enter.

Merkel, who announced earlier today that Germany could receive half a million refugees a year, said that the EU has to change its refugee policy and that common binding quotas are needed, so that the distribution of refugees is more even throughout the EU member states.

She also said that Germany and Sweden agree that asylum seekers who do not have cause for asylum, for example people coming from the Balkans, should leave, so that there is enough space and energy to take care of the people who really do need help.

For his part, Stefan Löfven said that Sweden and Germany are not shutting their eyes to humanitarian catastrophes.

Löfven said Sweden and Germany have a lot in common and both take a lot of responsibility in terms of accepting refugees who come to Europe to escape war and oppression.

Löfven said that he and Merkel had spoken about the importance of having an orderly system, and he also said that it's not enough for countries to voluntarily accept refugees. He said that Sweden and Germany have a common vision of a permanent and forced system that would fall into place in times when many asylum seekers are coming to the EU.

Löfven pointed out that there are 28 countries in the EU who have the same moral responsibilities and rules, and that all the countries need to take responsibility.

Prime Minister Löfven will be meeting the Austrian Chancellor, Werner Faymann, this evening, back in Stockholm, to discuss the refugee crisis as well.