MOSCOW (Sputnik) — This is Germany's first ever general migration plan, which the country was forced to come up with overnight after it had opened its borders to around 20,000 migrants who had crossed into Germany over what Merkel called a "breathtaking" weekend.
"For the first time ever, we have a general concept on how to tackle the challenges we are facing," Merkel said at a joint press conference with Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, as quoted by the German government's official website on Monday.
"What we are going through, it’s what will preoccupy our country in the coming years. And we want that it changes for the best, and we believe we can make it happen," the chancellor told reporters.
She praised volunteers who had helped social services in Bavaria welcome those who had arrived over the past three days, with Gabriel saying they had painted a picture of Germany they could all be proud of.
Merkel urged the 28-national European Union to pull its weight in the face of the rising migrant inflow from war-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East.
Sigmar Gabriel echoed Merkel’s words, saying "We need another EU refugee policy."
"Only European solidarity can help us cope with this effort. We are a Europe of values," Merkel stressed. "Europe’s values and its legal system should set the standard for us."
The chancellor underscored that the EU’s Dublin Regulation, which requires that refugees apply for asylum in the first country they enter in the bloc, was still in force. Last week, Germany and Austria eased restrictions to let in excess migrants from Hungary.
"Those who have no chance of staying must leave our country," Merkel warned.
On September 14, EU home and finance ministers will have an emergency meeting in Luxembourg to discuss a joint approach to the migration problem, with the first proposals to be presented by the European Commission on Wednesday.