Foreign Minister Steinmeier and Economic Affairs Minister Gabriel issued the following statement in Berlin on 9 September:
Europe is being put to the test. Only if we all pull in the same direction will we be able to respond appropriately to the large influx of refugees. We need a European refugee policy that does justice to people’s expectations and to Europe’s own standards. The bold proposals put forward by the European Commission point in the right direction.
We must, for example, ensure that responsibility in Europe is spread across many shoulders in a spirit of solidarity. A fair distribution, as called for in our ten-point plan, must be part of any general concept. We therefore particularly support the Commission’s proposals for a permanent relocation mechanism.
A comprehensive strategy to manage refugee flows must also include tackling the root causes which make people seek refuge or decide to migrate. It is therefore now vital that we act at European level to draw up a cogent plan of action and put it into practice.
On 23 August, Foreign Minister Steinmeier and Economic Affairs Minister Gabriel put forward a ten-point plan setting out the key elements of a European refugee policy. They included calls for the fair distribution of refugees, the ambitious harmonisation of European asylum policy, and purposeful agreements on returns. One key point included in the paper is fighting the root causes of flight.