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Migrant crisis: Germany's Merkel says EU quotas are a 'first step'

September 8, 2015 6:10 pm

Mandatory quotas determining how many migrants each European Union country should take in are a “first step”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says.

She was speaking as the EU continues to grapple with a huge influx of migrants, which peaked at the weekend.

The European Commission is set to announce plans on Wednesday, including quotas, to distribute 120,000 migrants among member countries.

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Germany says it can cope with more in the future but wants the burden shared.

Merkel was speaking alongside the visiting Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven. Their countries have so far taken in the most Syrian asylum seekers.

Calling the European Commission’s proposals “an important first step”,Merkel added that the EU needed an open-ended “system to share out those with a right to asylum”.

Earlier, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel says Germany could cope with "at least 500,000 asylum seekers a year for several years.

Germany, which has waived EU rules to welcome thousands of Syrian migrants, expects more than 800,000 asylum seekers in 2015 alone – four times the 2014 figure.

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