13:06 GMT +325 February 2018
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    Sebastian Kurz und Angela Merkel in Berlin

    Merkel, Kurz Clash Over Refugees During First Meeting in Berlin

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    The German and Austrian leaders once again made their differences evident when it comes to how they think the refugee issue currently affecting both their countries should be tackled.

    Vienna's approach to handling the migration crisis contradicts the principle of European unity and solidarity, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, after her recent meeting with Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz.

    "It cannot be, in my view, that there are some countries that say 'we don't want to participate in European solidarity'," she said, cited by TheLocal.de. "I believe that's wrong."

    For his part, Kurz, voiced the opinion that the discussion about mandatory migrant quotas "took up too much space."

    "I'm convinced that the solution to the migrant problem lies with decent border protection and stronger help in countries of origin," Kurz told journalists following the meeting.

    Despite the existing differences, the 31-year-old Kurz, who became the world's youngest leader after forming a new conservative-right government, stated last month that he wants to enhance friendly relations with Berlin.

    READ MORE: Austria's Sebastian Kurz Seeks to Strengthen Ties With Germany's Merkel

    In particular, he said that he "is looking forward to further cooperation with the German government," and particularly "with Chancellor Angela Merkel — above all in further deepening our excellent bilateral relationship and also within the European Union."

    Previously, in December 2017, Kurz joined eastern and central European countries in their opposition to mandatory refugee quotas. Other EU countries, however, including Germany and Greece, opposed the move, calling for all EU states to adhere to the quota scheme agreed by a majority of European leaders in 2015 and aimed at relocating tens thousands of migrants across the Union.

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    Tags:
    refugee crisis, meeting, Sebastian Kurz, Angela Merkel, Germany, Austria
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